Find out how human activity has shaped Scotland. Our extensive archive spans a vast range of buildings, archaeological monuments and industrial and maritime sites, to give an unparalleled view of Scotland’s past.
The collection has been the work of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) since 1908. Today, it holds more than 5 million items and continues to record all aspects of the historic environment.
Scotland’s records cover:
- archaeology – records of excavations, surveys and research into human activity from the Mesolithic era to the present day
- architecture – records and images of our monuments and buildings, including their design, construction and evolution
- industrial sites – records of industrial buildings and processes and their impact on Scotland’s historic environment
- maritime – records relating to Scotland’s marine historic environment, including shipwrecks
Canmore is the online catalogue of the National Record of the Historic Environment. It holds detailed information and archive images for more than 300,000 places in Scotland.
Carry out simple, advanced or map searches for:
- information about a particular building or site
- recent and historic images held in our archives
- digital images to view and download
- information about named archive collections
- photographs, drawings, books, journals and maps held in our Search Room
- distribution maps of specific site types
You can also:
- explore themed galleries of images – and create your own
- read digital publications online
- share information and images you hold for specific places via MyCanmore
- buy images
Visit us in person
Visit the home of the HES Archives and the National Record of the Historic Environment at John Sinclair House in Edinburgh.
We ask all visitors to book in advance.
Book your visit