Researching Archaeology in North West England

It is eleven years since the North West Archaeological Research Framework was published (see Since then a large number of projects have taken place across the region from developer-funded work to HLF and volunteer research, whilst the period 2006 to 2017 has seen a huge amount of archaeological and built environment publications.



A Saxon grave marker from Bowdon parish church

This new data, together with changes in the way the resource is managed and the advancement of new analytical techniques, have led to Historic England funding an update of this and two other research frameworks (the North West and East of England). But there are key differences in the new project: it is called the North West Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment to reflect a greater engagement with the historic built environment, and will be transformed into an interactive, updatable and sustainable web-based resource.


The first stage of the project is to undertake a resource assessment. This will consist of a review by period specialists of key projects and research findings from the last eleven years, together with an overview of historic buildings analysis and research. The results of these studies will be presented at a Resource Assessment conference on 5th May 2017. Ahead of the conference, draft reports on Prehistory, Roman, Early Medieval, Later Medieval, Early Post-Medieval, Industrial & Modern, and History Buildings will be made available online. As with the previous North West Research Framework, we want stakeholders in the region’s historic environment, from the professional and voluntary sectors, to have a chance to participate by providing feedback on the resource assessment; after the conference there will be a consultation period in which feedback can be submitted on the reports.



19th century workers’ housing being excavated in Salford in2012.

The second half of the project will see thematic and period workshops in the autumn of 2017 to re-evaluate and update the research framework to take account of changes in our understanding of the historic environment and the way it is managed. These will take place across the region. A final conference in spring 2018 will present the changes to the research strategy and, again, there will be an opportunity to participate in the feedback process. The final resource assessment reports and updated framework will be placed on an interactive, managed website, designed by Historic England, which will have the facility for new projects and data to be uploaded, so that in the future the Research Framework can be kept up to date.


The launch conference for the project will be held on Friday 5th May at The Storey, Lancaster. Online booking is through here:

You can keep up to date or get involved with the project either by regularly checking CBA North West’s blogging website here (which includes a North West bibliography and the text of the resource updates) or by following @cbanorthwest on twitter or visiting the CBA North West facebook pages ( or the Centre for Applied Archaeology facebook pages (

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