Towns and Topography

Every historic town in Europe has a web page these days. Just Google any name to be overwhelmed. Most of them just supply a taster of the urban delights to entice the visitor, and links to the accommodation bureau. These are just a sample that are special. There was once a wonderful tour of Assisi, but it seems to have vanished from cyberspace.

Canterbury Tour

If you Google the name of any historic town you will come up with a range of virtual tours, of variable quality, for each one. This one was one of the first on the web, and the excellent design and concept still stand up well. It links archaeological reports with a virtual tour of the town. It all works, with a clickable map and spatial navigation. It puts those sometimes dry archaeological reports into a visual context. I wonder why nobody else seems to have tried this approach.

York Archaeological Trust

Trust York to be the first historic town with a truly comprehensive archaeological website, with promises of further developments to come. There is archaeological news, excavation reports, tours of sites and monuments and multitudes of pictures. This looks like a great resource which can only get better. However, it would be nice if they settled on a URL and site structure some time soon.

Medieval English Towns

Based on a thesis, the site has been turned into a truly classy web site on the history of medieval towns. The thesis is there, surrounded by a mass of contextual material that cleverly integrates primary documentary material into appropriate parts of the commentary and uses good graphic material to investigate towns in East Anglia. There is also an excellent link page to other material on urban history. Don't go past this one. I have, at the request of the author, restored the URL to that of the author's personal website as it is no longer being updated on ORB, and therein lies a tale.

The Paris of Philippe Augustus

This site aims to give a visual conception of medieval Paris, linked to various bits of information on the history of Paris. Progress on this site has been stalled for years.

Mapping Margery Kempe

I have also listed this site as a literature site, given that it includes the complete works of Margery Kempe. However, part of the mapping involves placing her in her context of King's Lynn, a fascinating medieval town. This site warrants a leisurely exploration.

The Great North Road

This is more of an idea for a web site than a functioning site at this stage, but it is such a good idea that I thought I should list it so we can see how it develops. The Great North Road was the major road link from London to the north of England, and its history is represented by many survivals in architecture, literature writen by those who travelled it and landscape mythology. It is an ambitious concept for a web site, but if you don't try, you don't fly.

Ordnance Survey

Britain's Ordnance Survey maps are legendary. They are a valuable tool for the historian, as not only are they incredibly accurate and detailed, they show all manner of ancient monuments - even ones you might not recognise without the map. You can now access these maps online for free to 1:25000 scale. You can zoom in and out, scroll around and search by place name, postcode or grid reference.

Historic Cities: Maps and Documents

This is a historic map junkie's delight, with reproductions of old maps in low and high resolution on their own site, and links to those on other sites. The maps are of towns from all over Europe, but with only a small selection from England.

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