THE long-awaited sixth volume in the British Historic Town Atlas series has been launched at a reception hosted by the city council.

Using maps, photographs and illustrations - many of which published for the first time - the Atlas, which is also the 11th volume in the Winchester Studies series, begins with the period of Roman history when Winchester was known as Venta Belgarum, the capital of King Alfred’s Wessex and later a judicial centre and important county town.

The Atlas, edited by Professors Martin Biddle and Derek Keene, was published jointly by the Historic Towns Trust and Winchester's Excavations Committee and includes the first comprehensive survey of the Roman city and its history to be published in over a hundred years, as well as documenting Winchester’s later growth and development drawing on the results of the most recent archaeological and documentary research.

Cllr Caroline Horrill, council leader, said: “In Winchester, we pride ourselves on our history and heritage. Today, as we closely examine the topography and layout of our evolving district, this compilation of maps, photographs and illustrations offers a fascinating insight into developments undertaken by past generations.

"Our archaeology and heritage will continue to be protected as we look to build a positive future for Wintonians. We are pleased to have Professor Biddle chairing the archaeology panel for Central Winchester as this ensures that his vast knowledge is harnessed for the public good.”

Dame Mary Fagan, Patron of Winchester Excavations Committee, said: “Congratulations to Martin and his team as well as Giles Darkes, the Historic Towns Trust cartographer, on this magnificent and fascinating book. We are grateful to Winchester City Council for its support and for hosting the reception.”

Nigel McNair-Scott, Winchester Excavations’ vice chairman, also announced a drive to raise £1million over four years to finish the publications of Winchester Studies, to complete the analysis of the wealth of archaeological and other evidence as well as enabling the literature and materials to remain publicly accessible.

The British Historic Towns Atlas of Winchester is published by Oxbow books and can be purchased:

Orders placed before December 31 will be eligible for a £15 discount, from £70 to £55.