A group of volunteers were welcomed to the Dorset Historic Environment Record (HER) on Thursday 21 July by Claire Pinder, senior archaeologist. Dorset HER was created in 2001 when the Dorset Sites and Monuments record (SMR) was merged with the historic buildings record for the county – a similar development to that experienced by adjoining counties.
As one of the few County Hall services to still include a paper base, space is of a premium and the service hopes to move into larger premises this summer. Although an HER does not act as an archive in the same way as the Dorset History Centre acts as an archive for documentary and historical records, it is a place where members of the public can, subject to pre- booking, come and do research.
The HER has to move with the times and adapt to the new demands of heritage management set by Historic England (Ex English Heritage). Heritage assets are no longer confined to those features and monuments which professionals have assessed to be worthy of classification, but also include non-scheduled assets, in other words anything which members of the public consider may be ‘siginificant’. Significance is the current buzz word.
Some resources can be used at home by accessing the Dorset Explorer site: http://explorer.geowessex.com/
Dorset Explorer allows you to choose a base map and superimpose the layer that interests you (go to the Historic Environment Folder for example). You can zoom in and out to find monuments, listed buildings, etc.