Peterborough's past

Peterborough displays a unique and diverse natural landscape, being characterised by deep fen and fen edge, clay and limestone 'uplands', and terraces of the Rivers Nene and Welland. This diverse landscape was exploited as early as the Palaeolithic period, better known as the Stone Age. You may view the distribution of archaeological finds and associated information on our interactive map.

As the result of over 500,000 years of human activity, the historic environment of Peterborough is extremely rich and varied, with ancient sites, monuments, features and finds, historic towns and villages, 29 conservation areas, over 1000 listed buildings, 69 scheduled monuments, 7 historic parks and gardens and other distinctive landscape character areas, which represent a unique record of Peterborough's past.

Peterborough archaeological services

We provide advice and information on the archaeology and historic environment of Peterborough City Council, and advise local planning authorities on the archaeological implications of development, both within and outside the planning system. 

You may contact this service by calling on 01733 864702 or 453450 or by emailing

Peterborough Archaeological Services are committed towards:

  • Creating strong and supportive communities
  • Promoting substantial and sustainable growth
  • Creating the UK’s Environmental Capital
  • Creating opportunities and tackling inequalities
  • Promoting lifelong learning

Environmental stewardship

Environmental stewardship is an agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers towards land management, including the protection of the historic environment and natural resources. The scheme includes the following:

  • Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) provides a straightforward approach to supporting the stewardship of the countryside. It is open to all farmers
  • Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS) is the organic equivalent of ELS and is open to all farmers not receiving Organic Farming Scheme aid
  • Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) involves more complex types of management and agreements set against specific local targets

Peterborough Archaeological Services provides advice to farmers and landowners on grant-aided management of the historic landscape.

For further information or how to apply please contact Natural England on 0300 060 001 or email

Historic environment record

The historic environment record, is the definitive digital record of the known archaeological remains within the boundaries of Peterborough. It digitally maintains three types of records:

  • monuments of all periods, from find spots to earthworks
  • events, investigative fieldwork such as excavations or surveys
  • sources and archives.

As well as database records, it has physical archives that can be consulted such as historic maps, annotated maps, photographs and grey literature reports.

Planning advice

In line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Peterborough Local Plan, Peterborough Archaeological Services advise the council on all matters relating to the archaeological implications of land-use planning, both for strategic planning and for development control casework. The appointed archaeologist monitors all planning applications and provides specific advice as appropriate.