East Sussex Historic Environment Record (ESHER)
Visitors to The Keep are able to look at the East Sussex Historic Environment Record (ESHER). This is a database of archaeological sites, finds and historic monuments in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. ESHER is part of the national network of the Historic Environment Record (HER), which is supported by English Heritage. It has been created and maintained by East Sussex County Council since the 1970s. The data from the ESHER may be used for personal research only. This information is not for commercial purposes or publication without prior permission.
A version of the ESHER database is available on this website. You may also want to search via our map system.
ESHER’s main purpose is to help the County Council to manage the historic environment of East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. It is used extensively for planning and development control; and developers have an obligation to inform HER of the results of archaeological investigations. The database is also a valuable resource for academic and private researchers, local historians, archaeologists, and for education. It links with the collections at The Keep, and acts as a bridge between the curatorial role of East Sussex County Council and the rich archival holdings of the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO), which are to be found at The Keep.
ESHER contains information on sites of all ages, ranging from finds of the Palaeolithic period to 20th-century monuments. As well as familiar locations such as Lewes Castle and Battle Abbey, there are lesser-known sites, some identified only by aerial photographs or Lidar analysis.
The database includes information on excavations and protected sites; detailed topographical data for specific areas; surveys of the historic landscape and urban areas; historic maps; historic buildings, parks and gardens; sites and monuments; and information about research projects. There are over 21,000 recorded archaeological sites and digital copies of around 2,000 archaeological reports, aerial photographs and a library of archaeological and historical sources.
The accuracy and detail available varies from site to site. Some are known only from less precise 19th-century sources but for modern excavations, the information is more precise and informative. Sites are continually being re-interpreted with new data gained from professional archaeologists, academics, students, local societies and members of the public.
ESHER is kept up to date by a team which includes the county archaeologist and the East Sussex HER officer, using new reports, the latest finds and local information. ESHER’s scope is constantly being improved by the inclusion of additional locally listed buildings, information about parks and gardens, and by adding historical information, mostly from ESRO sources. Details are also fed in from national projects, such as those funded by English Heritage and the Council for British Archaeology, as well as projects and research conducted independently in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove.
In addition to material held online, ESHER holds further information and resources on some particularly sensitive archaeological sites. Researchers may leave a comment on an individual record page or contact the East Sussex HER Officer to find out more. In order to help researchers who require assistance and to raise the profile of the service, the ESHER Officer is based at The Keep for appointments and drop-in sessions.
The data from the ESHER may be used for personal research only. This information is not for commercial purposes or publication without prior permission. A version of the ESHER database is available on this website. You may also want to search via our map system. For further assistance on using the map, we have guidance notes as follows: Keep HER website instructions.
Email: County.HER@eastsussex.gov.uk; Telephone: 01273 336378