Archwilio-the easy way to discover the archaeology of Wales through the records of the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts.

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Listen to the pronuncation of Archwilio

Archwilio [Ar-ch-wil-ee-o] vb, to explore, examine, audit

How you can help us

We strive to keep the HERs as up-to-date, complete and accurate as possible, but in such extensive areas with such large numbers of sites, this is no easy task. We therefore encourage everyone to help us achieve this in the following ways:

  • If you have viewed data online, or if we have sent data to you and you find that the information is inaccurate, please let us know
  • If you are carrying out research into any aspect of archaeology in our individual Trust areas, we would be grateful if you could let us see your results so that we can amend our records accordingly

We are also interested in finding out about new discoveries within our Trust areas. If you come across an artefact or a site that you think we may not already know of, we would be pleased to hear from you.

What is Archwilio?

The Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 introduced a duty on the Welsh Ministers to compile and keep up to date a historic environment record (HER) for each local authority area in Wales. Archwilio provides online access to this core information about the historic environment of Wales, and this is supported by further material held by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts (WATs).

Historic Environment Records have been compiled and maintained by the four Trusts since the 1970s. The WATs now undertake this work on behalf of the Welsh Ministers. The records provide a comprehensive index to archaeological and historical sites, finds and investigations of all periods throughout Wales. Currently, the HERs collectively contain entries relating to about 200,000 individual assets and nearly 100,000 investigations, in databases that are continually up-dated and expanded as new information becomes available. The HERs use the information to fulfil a wide variety of functions including assisting in the positive management and presentation of the historic landscape, development management, and as a source for input to local history, conservation and tourism projects.

Each HER covers all aspects of human activity in the landscape from early prehistory to recent times. Details of well- and lesser-known sites can be found, in addition to records generated by archaeological projects undertaken in the area. If you are interested in researching your local area, or finding out more about a particular historical period, this is a good place to start.

Commercial users of the HER should contact the relevant archaeological trust for advice on what further information may be available over and above that seen in Archwilio. A link to make an enquiry to the relevant trust is available here.

The Welsh Archaeological Trusts

The four Welsh Archaeological Trusts are educational charities and limited companies established in the mid 1970s with the principal object of advancing the education of the public in archaeology. The Trusts work closely with other national, regional and local bodies, to help protect, record and interpret all aspects of the historic environment, and make the results available to the public. We employ professional archaeological staff with a wide range of expertise.

We maintain the Historic Environment Records (HERs) for each local authority area. The core information that is made available through Archwilio is supported by significant quantities of additional information that is held by each of the Trusts. As well as being consulted by private and academic researchers, the information is critical for use by the local authorities and other organizations to provide strategic advice, and also case management support where development proposals, agri-environmental, forestry and woodland schemes impact on the historic environment. The Trusts also carry out a wide variety of archaeological projects for public and private sector bodies, including environmental impact assessment, field survey, excavation and heritage interpretation.

Guidance on the compilation and use of HERs

This guidance explains how certain public bodies in Wales:

  • may contribute to the compilation of historic environment records and assist in keeping them up to date
  • should make use of historic environment records in the exercise of their functions

Click here to download this guidance document.

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Dyfed Archaeological Trust Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust