Big Recording Month- Week 3: Creating Your Record and Visiting Your Site
This week we’ll look at visiting your site and creating your record. Once you have identified a site you can consider visiting it to determine levels of preservation, take photographs and interpret surviving features. A site visit isn’t always necessary and you can still create a basic site record without visiting the site, as long as you know its location. Basic site records are still extremely useful and will allow others to investigate sites in detail in the future.
Disclaimer- The Council for British Archaeology and its project partners are not responsible for any issues that may arise during your site recording or as a result of using the Home Front Legacy recording app.
What is a record?
A record is a written account of a site’s history, function, type and location. This often includes an accurate grid reference for the site, a written description, the site type, photographs and the dates when field work took place.
Our recording app makes recording a site very simple; providing you with all the tools you will require to create everything from a simple site record through to a detailed site record outlining a site’s development throughout its use. We will look at the recording app in more detail next week.
What information should I record?
A site description can be as simple or detailed as you like. Where possible, your site description should describe where your site is located, its function, surviving features and information of its First World War use.
A simple record may just consist of a grid reference, directions, site type and a site description. It is always best to include as much information about your site as possible. You will need to know where your site is on the ground so that you can take an accurate grid reference. We will cover grid references next week.
Dates, construction materials, site condition, photographs, associated people, and sources of information are all very useful. If you have consulted a source of information, such as a book, website or archive document, you will need to provide a reference within the recording app’s sources section.
A site description is one of the most important parts of any archaeological record. The aim is to accurately describe the location of your site, its history, and what remains of the site today. This video will show you how to write a site description and what to consider when doing so.
You can also check records on our Map of Sites to view site descriptions submitted by our volunteer contributors.
What should I consider before visiting my site?
Planning a site visit may take some time, depending on the type of site you are recording.
You will need to have identified the location of your site before conducting a site visit; your research should help you tie down the location. Landowner consent must also be gained to access private property and sites on private land. You will also require landowner consent to leave public footpaths to view a site that sits outside the area of public access. You can find definitive maps of public footpath online.
If your site is visible FROM a public area, such as on the street or a public footpath, you will not need landowner consent to take photographs. However, it is always best to respect the landowner or property owner’s right to privacy and ask before taking any photographs of private residences.
Read through our Health and Safety guidance before conducting a site visit.
You can find out more about planning your site visit, contacting landowners and the equipment you may need in our Site Recording Guide.
How do I photograph my site?
Photographs complement your record and help further illustrate a site’s type, levels of preservation, and location. This video will show you how to take photographs and keep a record of your site photographs.
Start collating your information, focussing on the type of site, dates and information about its use during the war
Investigate other records on the Home Front Legacy Map of Sites
Have a go at writing your own site description
Visit one of the sites you have identified
Photograph your site
Next week we’ll look at recording sites with the Home Front Legacy recording app.