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County of Berkshire. Attribution: By Nilfanion, CC BY-SA or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Berkshire has a rich and varied landscape, matched by its rich historic environment. The chalk hills of the Berkshire Downs have attracted human habitation since prehistoric times and contain a number of important Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. Later periods saw the landscape dotted with Roman villas and medieval castles, the remains of which are present today. Sites include:

  • The area around the Vale of the White Horse (included here because the Downs were once wholly in Berkshire). This area contains the Neolithic long barrow at Wayland’s Smithy; the Bronze Age Uffington White Horse; and the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age hillforts of Liddington and Uffington.
  • Seven Barrows Bronze Age cemetery, which actually contains more than 30 barrows!
  • The Ridgeway which is possibly Britain’s oldest road having been used for at least 5000 years.
  • Roman villas at Cox Green, Cornhill Farm, Lower Basildon and Woolstone. Two Roman roads, Camlet Way and Ermin Street, pass through the county too.
  • A wealth of castles, many built during the turbulent 12th century civil war between Stephen and Matilda. These include Donnington Castle and, of course, Windsor Castle.
  • A number of abbeys and monastic sites such as Hurley Priory, Bisham Abbey and Reading Abbey.

Explore artefacts and coins found in Berkshire and recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database. There’s even more about Berkshire finds and volunteering on our blog.

To get involved, try one of the museums, clubs or societies, or come to a local event. Or contact us to learn more about volunteering for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.


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