Researching the Historic Environment: Key Skills and Resources


Heritage research demands a diverse knowledge base and a complex skillset. The evidence that researchers use on a daily basis is multidisciplinary: from combing through reports to processing maps, analysing historic photographs, and investigating artefacts. Having the knowledge to find useful and reliable sources of information and possessing the skills to process this evidence is paramount to producing high quality reports.

This course provides instruction in four main categories of research: 

  1. published and unpublished reports and archives
  2. museums and artefacts
  3. photographs and other visual resources
  4. maps and spatial data

Each of these topics is led by an experienced professional who will address key physical and online resources as well as fundamental considerations when it comes to using this information in research, from critical analysis through to basic starting points in software. While the course deals with these areas in detail, it also provides a framework for thinking across these categories synoptically with advice on how to construct strategic priorities for research, and an interactive discussion session on what makes a high-quality report.

This course provides a primer for those starting out in professional and postgraduate heritage research as well as for more experienced researchers seeking to refresh and bolster their existing skillset.

Please note that most resources this course addresses are specifically those most relevant to work in England. There will also be a small amount of set work to be done before the course starts to prepare for the discussion session. This preparation will take no more than 4 hours.

Programme details

Monday 20 June 2021

9.00 am   Registration and coffee/tea

9.30 am   Welcome and introduction

9.45 am   Planning priorities for research. Dr Toby Martin, University of Oxford

10.30 am   Archives, libraries and grey literature. Dr Victoria Donnelly, Senior Cultural Heritage Consultant, Arup

11.30 am   Coffee/tea

12.00 pm   Museums and objects. Anni Byard, Oxford Archaeology, University of Leicester and Ashmolean Museum

1.00 pm   Lunch

1.45 pm   Photographs and visual sources. Julian Munby, Head of Buildings, Oxford Archaeology

2.45 pm   Maps and landscapes. Scott Chaussée, Marine Geophysicist, Wessex Archaeology

3.45 pm   Coffee/tea

4.15 pm   Discussion: what makes a high-quality report? Chaired by Dr Toby Martin, University of Oxford

5.00 pm   Course ends


Description Costs
Standard course fee £250.00
Baguette £4.90
Full Hot Lunch £14.00


Payment of fees must be made in full at the time of booking.

Please note that businesses and organisations can be invoiced on provision of a Purchase Order and completed application form. These can be emailed to the CWHE Programme Administrator, email:


Miss Anni Byard


Anni has been working in archaeology for 20 years, firstly as a commercial field archaeologist then for 11 years as the Finds Liaison Officer for Oxfordshire and West Berkshire with the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Anni left the PAS in 2019 to pursue a PhD with the University of Leicester and Ashmolean Museum, researching the Iron Age to Roman transition in Britain from the perspective of coin hoards. Her research focuses on the appearance of hoards and coins both in the landscape and in archaeological contexts. Anni works part time for Oxford Archaeology South as their small finds specialist and has a BA in Archaeology from the University of Liverpool and an MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology from the University of Oxford.

Mr Scott Chaussée


Scott obtained his BA in Anthropology at the University of Kansas (USA) and his MA in Social Archaeology from the University of Southampton. He is in the final stage of doctoral study at UCL. His research examines the archaeology of communities in the Roman and early medieval landscapes of southern England. Since 2019 Scott has worked as a terrestrial and marine geophysicist at Wessex Archaeology.  In addition to utilising terrestrial and offshore spatial data at work, he teaches GIS and spatial statistics at undergraduate level and leads multi-disciplinary research projects in association with local museums and community groups.

Dr Victoria Donnelly


Victoria is a Senior Historic Environment Consultant at Arup and Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists with over seventeen years’ experience within the Cultural Heritage sector. Her doctoral research (University of Oxford) into grey literature reporting provided new insight into the relationship between development-led archaeology and dissemination of new archaeological understanding. As a critical analysis and review of historic environment practice since 1990, her doctoral research also included recommendations for best practice and standards and guidance.

Dr Toby Martin

Course Director

Toby obtained his BA in Archaeology and Anthropology as well as his MSt in European Archaeology from the University of Oxford, and studied for his PhD at the University of Sheffield. Since 2013 Toby has worked as a Research Fellow and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology. His research focuses on the early medieval period, with a particular interest in the social role of objects in Europe in the centuries that followed the collapse of Roman imperial rule.

Mr Julian Munby


Julian Munby, formerly Head of Buildings Archaeology, Oxford Archaeology

Learning outcomes

Participants completing this course should:

  1. Knowledge. Understand where to find key published and unpublished heritage resources covering archaeological reports and archives, visual resources, spatial information and artefacts
  2. Skills. Understand how these data might be stored, processed, combined and applied to specific research questions
  3. Synthesis. Be able to construct a roadmap for following through a research project from first explorations to final report


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Depending on availability, it may be possible to book accommodation in Rewley House.

All bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.

Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and prices.