Flying Past


Flying Through Cornwall’s Past is the culmination of a twelve year project mapping archaeological and historical sites visible on aerial photos in historic Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The project was commissioned and paid for by English Heritage and the mapping was carried out by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council.

Tregonning Hill, Breage. There has been intensive human activity here for at least two and a half thousand years. An Iron Age hillfort sits on the summit; more recently the slopes were worked for tin and china clay. Photo © Cornwall County Council Historic Environment Service

The mapping team studied more than 50,000 aerial photos taken between 1926 and 2005. Read more about aerial photos and archaeology: the different types of photo we use, how we find the sites, and how we map Cornwall’s past from the photos.

We have mapped more than 30,000 archaeological sites, many of which we discovered during the course of the project. Look at our interactive historic environment map and see for yourself all the sites we have mapped.

The project has enhanced our knowledge of the past and added to our understanding of Cornwall’s ancient landscape. By exploring Cornwall’s past you can read the story of how this landscape has developed over time.