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About Canmore

Canmore contains more than 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries for archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage across Scotland. Compiled and managed by Historic Environment Scotland, Canmore contains information and collections from all its survey and recording work, as well as from a wide range of other organisations, communities and individuals who are helping to enhance this national resource.



Our Site Records are added to on a daily basis as we collectively work to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the past. Information is actively being assembled from a range of sources including:

  • from archaeological fieldwork, architectural recording, aerial survey, collections and research by Historic Environment Scotland
  • from Local Authority Historic Environment Records and the National Trust for Scotland through live links
  • site and place information compiled from publications, including Discovery and Excavation in Scotland
  • from research and fieldwork by individuals and community groups

By undertaking a site search you will find out the location of individual sites, buildings or wrecks. Many site entries have descriptive text, bibliographic references and catalogue entries for collections items.

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We collect, care for and make available material relating to Scotland’s archaeology, buildings, industrial and maritime heritage. There are currently some 1.2million catalogue entries in Canmore for historic photographs, drawings, manuscripts and digital archives which illustrate and document Scotland’s historic environment. In Canmore you will find:

  • historic and modern photographs of buildings, industrial and archaeological sites
  • street scenes and aerial views of cities, towns, villages and landscapes
  • drawings and papers by Scottish architects from 1800 to the present day
  • survey drawings, including measured drawings of buildings and monuments produced by RCAHMS as well as by other survey programmes, such as the National Art Survey of Scotland
  • archaeological survey and excavation archives

By doing a collections search you can explore what we hold. Not everything is digitised and many items will only appear as a catalogue entry.


An Image Search will produce collections items from Canmore which have a digital record. There are some 330,000 images available to view online. Some of these are from modern survey photography and others are from digitisation of our drawing and photographic collections.

We have a digitisation programme in place and are adding new images to Canmore on a weekly basis.

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Digital Publications

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Most of the Publications by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from 1908 to 1915 have been digitised and are now available to search and download. 

This includes all the county inventories, archaeological reports, thematic surveys, catalogues and smaller publications such as the broadsheets. Please be aware that many of these are very large files and may take a few moments to download.