Avebury World Heritage Site GIS

The henge and surrounding landscape at Avebury forms one half of the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site.
Upcoming projects at Avebury and ongoing management of the World Heritage Site required a spatial database of relevant information to be collated. Wiltshire Council commissioned Wessex Archaeology to collate data and to implement a Geographic Information System (GIS) to support these functions.

Building an enabling tool

The project involved building upon the Avebury part of the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site GIS created by English Heritage in the 1990’s. In order to support the requirements of the Stonehenge & Avebury World Heritage Site Revised Research Framework project and also the needs of the Avebury World Heritage Site Coordinator,  it was necessary to update the WHS GIS to reflect recent boundary changes in the WHS and to add new data for an extension to the study area to the east. This required spatial data in CAD format and descriptive information as tables of text, both supplied by Wiltshire Council Sites and Monuments Record, to be processed and turned into data suitable for use in GIS using the same structure as the WHS GIS. Other GIS layers such as those published by English Heritage and English Nature were refreshed and new datasets created for or by the Avebury Archaeological and Historical Research Group (AAHRG) and Wiltshire Council were added.
Basic training in the use of the data within GIS was also provided as part of the package.


The use of GIS to support specific projects and ongoing management tasks at World Heritage Sites is highly beneficial. Having access to data and indices to other data accessible via a map based view is a powerful management tool, particularly where the ongoing results of management activities can be incorporated.