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Unlocking Buckinghamshire’s Past has 5 main elements:

  • An illustrated database of archaeological and historic sites, finds and buildings in the county which is searchable by simple and advanced text searches and by map searches
  • Local interest packs and lots of additional information
  • Visitor guides to selected sites
  • An illustrated glossary and interactive timeline
  • Teaching packs with additional resources for school children and teachers.

All of these are available free-of-charge to all non-commercial users of the website.  Commercial and academic users should click on the Professional Archaeologist or University Student link on the home page for more information.


Once you have chosen a route into the website, use the menu to search the database.  You have a choice of running a Simple Search, Advanced Search or Map Search.

Simple Search

Choose the type of record you want information on by selecting one or more terms from the pull-down lists of Parish, Period, Site type or Find type and then hit the Search button.  The period terms used in the pull-down list are exclusive. This means that if you search for Roman, your search will bring up sites that are only Roman but not those that are Iron Age and Roman, so if you don’t get any results from a search it might be worth trying again without selecting a period. The Parish names used in the pull-down list are the Civil Parishes set at the 1974 local government reorganisation; if you can't find the historic or modern parish you are interested in on the list try picking a nearby parish as it may cover your area.  The results will be displayed in a summary list – click on an item to view the detailed record and any linked photographs or reports.  You can choose to see an individual site or all the sites from a search displayed on a map by using the ‘Show on Map’ link from a database record or the ‘Show Results on Map’ button at the top of the results list. 

Try the Keyword Search if you are looking for information about something that isn’t in the pull-down lists.  Type a word or name into the box and then hit the Search button.  Click on an item in the results list to view the detailed record or display a map.

Advanced Search

In Advanced Search you can build up quite complicated searches using combinations of terms or types of information.  If you don’t get any results it might be worth trying again using fewer terms.  Click on an item in the results list to view the detailed record or display a map (see Simple Search).

Map Search (separate help is available for the map search)


The glossary helps to explain many of the technical terms you will find in the website.  To view an entry, click on a term from the A-Z list.  In many cases the explanation includes illustrations, links to other terms, more detailed information about a time period, or to records of specific sites in Buckinghamshire.  You can also open up individual glossary terms by clicking on the hyperlinks in the database records.


To open the interactive timeline use the Timeline link in the menu.  Use the slider to move backwards or forwards through time.  You can hover over each of the period terms for a brief explanation of the period or click for more detailed information about the period.

Teaching Resources and Interactive Games

The teaching packs and teaching resource worksheets have been designed for Key Stages 2 and 3.  The teaching packs are:

  • Iron Age to Victorian changes in the landscape
  • Tudor to Victorian rich and poor
  • Archaeology in local history studies
  • Buckinghamshire in the World Wars
  • Archaeological skills and concepts
  • Putting Buckinghamshire in context 

The interactive games have been developed for schools.  The games are:

  • Timepod
  • Rich and Poor in Tudor Times
  • Victorian Shopping Experience
  • South Buckinghamshire in the War
  • Virtual Excavation. 

The games use Adobe Flash Player, which you can download for free from but there are also static PDF versions available.  Give them a go - they’re not just for kids!

Local Interest Packs, Visitor Guides and Additional information

You can get access to the local interest packs, visitor guides and loads of additional information using the menu.  The local interest packs are

  • How to get involved in archaeology
  • How to find historical and archaeological information. 

There are also parish summaries, period overviews, and ‘thematic essays’ on a host of topics including archaeological techniques, local societies, and recommended reading lists.  The visitor guides are PDF documents that you can download or print off, and include detailed information on a number of sites to visit. The parish summaries use the list of civil parishes following local government reorganisation in 1974; if you can't find the historic or modern parish you are interested in on the list try picking a nearby parish as it may cover your area.


The Links in the menu opens a page with hyperlinks to other websites that might be of interest.


You can send us feedback about the website by using the Feedback link in the menu.  A form for your comments will open up which will be automatically emailed to us when you hit the Submit button.  You can also send us comments or new information about a specific database record by using the Email Us link at the top of the detailed record.