How to get started researching by period
Early prehistoric: 500,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago
The Historic Environment Record and Buckinghamshire County Museum are the best places to start if you are studying very early human history, the Palaeolithic. The Museum has artefacts dating from this period and the Historic Environment Record has records of the circumstances under which many of the artefacts were found, as well as one or two more detailed records of excavations of sites of this period.
Later prehistoric: 10,000 years ago to 43 AD
The Historic Environment Record and Buckinghamshire County Museum are also the first places to consult if researching later prehistory, the Mesolithic to the Iron Age. There are many more reports of excavations and surveys of monuments for these periods and many artefacts stored with the Museum.
Roman. 43 AD to 410 AD
The Historic Environment Record and Buckinghamshire County Museum have a lot of information on the monuments and artefacts of the Roman period.
Saxon. 5th to early 11th century AD
The Historic Environment Record and Buckinghamshire County Museum have most information on these periods too. This used to be called the Dark Ages by historians as there were so few documents surviving from this period. Whilst this is still the case, archaeological investigation has been able to illuminate this period.
Medieval. Late 11th to mid 16th century AD
Unpublished medieval texts will be found in the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies. The Victoria County History is the best place to start when researching the medieval period as many translated medieval documents have been included. The Buckinghamshire Record Society has also translated, transcribed and published many medieval texts. The Historic Environment Record has records of excavations and surveys of medieval sites such as deserted medieval villages, moats and fishponds.
Post-medieval. Late 16th to 18th century AD
Many more written and printed documents survive from these periods than earlier ones. Therefore the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies is probably the best place to start. Buckinghamshire County Museum has some artefacts in its social history collection from the later post-medieval periods. Post-medieval buildings and gardens are recorded in the Historic Environment Record.
The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies has masses of information on the 19th century. The Historic Environment Record records houses and gardens but also schools, field barns and quarries from the 19th century. Buckinghamshire County Museum also has a large social history collection with many artefacts from this period. This includes clothes, accessories, farm implements and furniture amongst many other things.
Again the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies holds most information on the twentieth century in Buckinghamshire. The Historic Environment Record is not quite so developed in this area, but has been enhanced as part of the project to put the database online.
Click for a list of published books on Buckinghamshire in general.
Click here to find more heritage resources.