NWRRF Strategy Workshop 16/02/2018

We are pleased to announced that booking is now open for the latest workshop for the North West Regional Research Framework for the Historic Environment Update Project. Email Kirsty Whittall on K.Whittall1@salford.ac.uk to reserve a free place. This is a Strategy Workshop to be held on 16th February 2018 at Preston Masonic Hall. The workshop aims to review research questions and strategies for the updated framework objectives.

The Agenda for the Strategy Workshop is as follows:

10:00am Arrival and Welcome

10.30am Introduction to the Morning Session which will focus on:

General, Prehistory, Romano-British, and Early Medieval questions and strategies

11:00am Individual Free Comment Exercise

11:30am Group Analysis

12:30pm General Discussion

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch

14:00pm Introduction to the Afternoon Session which will focus on:

Late Medieval, Post Medieval, Industrial and integration of Built Heritage questions and strategies

14:30pm Individual Free Comment Exercise

15:00pm Group Analysis

16:00pm General Discussion, summing up/next steps

16:30pm Finish



NWRRF ALL Resource Assessment Updates Now Available

ChesterAmphitheatreVol1_2017All of the updated resource assessments for the NWRRF Historic Environment Update project have now been drafted. These are available to download as pdfs from the Period Updates pages of this blog site.

The three new additions are the Prehistoric and Roman updated resource assessments, and for the first time a resource assessment giving an overview of the historic built environment and buildings of the region.

All the documents are available to download and we are inviting comments on their contents (omissions, additions, new items for the bibliography) by the 15th January 2018.

These comments will form the basis of the final version of these period resource assessment chapters and will be available at the second NWRRF Conference on Saturday 28th April 2018, being held at the University of Salford in conjunction with CBA North West. Booking details for this free event will be sent out in January 2018.

Before then there are two further NWRRF public events for which booking will be open in January:

Research Strategy Workshop – venue Preston, Friday 16th February

Community Research Workshop – venue Penrith, Saturday 17th March


NWRRF New Post-Medieval & Industrial Period Summaries Available

The next batch of period updates for the NWRRF are now available for download and comment. These are for the Post-Medieval Period and the Industrial and 20th Century Period. They have been posted under the Period section of the current blog site and can also be found below. Both are initial drafts and we welcome comments and suggested additions for inclusion before the end of February 2018. Please email any comments to Kirsty Whitall at the Centre for Applied Archaeology (K.Whittall1@salford.ac.uk).

Updated Assessment_Post-Medieval


NWRRF New Medieval Period Summaries Available

The first two period updates for the NWRRF are now available for download and comment. These are for the Early Medieval Period and the Later Medieval Period. Both are initial drafts and we welcome comments and suggested additions for inclusion. These period chapters can be downloaded here:



NWRRF Seminars – Booking Now Open

NWRRF Vol 2 2007Stage 2 of the North West Regional Research Framework Historic Environment update project is now looming. This is the section of the project where we will be revising the research agenda and strategy from the original project as published in 2007.

We have a series of period and thematic period seminars planned across the autumn and winter of 2017 to 2018. Each free seminar will look at the existing period research agenda and revise the individual objectives in the light of research and fieldwork since 2006. As part of this work the new draft period resource chapters will be available at the appropriate period seminar and will be posted on this blog site for comment.

The first set of period seminars have now been organised. These will be on the Early Medieval and Later Medieval periods and will take place at the Quaker Meeting Rooms in Penrith, Cumbria, on Tuesday 12th September 2017 at The Quaker Meeting House in Penrith –  Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Penrith, CA11 7TR. We will be looking to start for the day at 9.30am. The morning session will be the Earlier Medieval until 12.00 and then the afternoon session will be the Later Medieval 13.00-15.30. We will provide tea, coffee, juice and water but unfortunately, lunch cannot be provided.

Booking is now open. Please email Penny Dargan-Makin to secure your place:  p.r.d.dargan-makin@salford.ac.uk

Places are limited so it will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, for those who can not make the seminars we shall be disseminating the 2007 Research objectives for comment, via email and via this website in the autumn. Once the new research agenda has been drafted will also be circulating that document for comment as well, early in 2018. So there will be many opportunities to take part in the revision of the research framework over the next few months.



Saltscape: 2017 North West Industrial Archaeology Conference

LionSaltWks3The 37th North West Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference (NWIAC 37) will be on Saturday 23rd September 2017. CBA North West have teamed up with the Saltscape Landscape Partnership and the Centre for Applied Archaeology at the University of Salford to bring you the latest regional research on the archaeology of the salt industry.

The last regional conference on this theme was in October 2002 and that led to the ‘Brine in Britannia’ monograph, which CBA NW published in 2005. Like then, this conference will be hosted by the Lion Salt Works and thanks to HLF support will be free. The talks will focus mainly on the post-medieval industry, and will include the results of two seasons of work by Salford University at the Ollershaw Lane Salt Works site, opposite the Lion Salt Works.

Details of the North West Regional Research Update project will be available on the day, along with draft copies of the Post-Medieval and Industrial resource chapters.

Online booking can be found here:


NWIAC 37 Saltscape Programme

9.30 Registration, tea coffee.

10.00 Introduction

10.10 – Andrew Fielding: Archaeology and Salt in Britain – latest research

10.40 – Mike Nevell: The Archaeology of Salt in Cheshire

11.10 – Sarah Cattell: Excavations at Ollershaw Lane salt Works, 2016 to 2017

11.40 – Chris Wild: The Murgatroyd Brine Pump

12.10 – David George: Salt in West Cumbria

12.30 – Roy Forshaw: Salt in the Merseyside area: recent work

13.00 – 14.00 lunch

14.00 – Tour of Ollershaw Lane Salt Works

15.00 – Tour of – Lion Salt Works

4pm Summary and Questions, tea and coffee


Capturing the Past: NWRRF Conference

The Buckton Castle Excavation Team 2010.


On Friday 5 May more than 80 archaeology professionals, historic environment practitioners, and archaeology and history volunteers gathered to hear the results of the first stage of the North West Regional Research Frameworks update project. The venue, The Storey (formerly The Storey Institute) in Lancaster, was very appropriate as this was one of the sites used for the workshops for the original North West Regional Research Framework project in the early 2000s.


Microsoft PowerPoint - NWRRF_Intro_May17.pptx
Archaeological fieldwork hotspots 2006 to 2017.

We were able to welcome back many of the participants from over a decade ago, once more giving freely of their own personal time, although inevitably some key researchers from then were missing (such as the late Ben Edwards and Robina McNeil, to name but two). The archaeological community in North West England is not huge and like the first project this is very much a communal effort, with so far many individuals and organisations contributing period and thematic data to the project.


Our period speakers had the unenviable and extremely difficult task of summarizing 11 years of archaeological and historic environment research activity covering the 2006 to 2017. The aim was to highlight from each period what is new and where there are concentrations of research in the region, as well as noting gaps. Its worth emphasizing that the update builds upon the existing regional research framework, and its period resource assessment chapters, which remain key foundation documents for the project.

The volume of data generated since 2006 in almost overwhelming, with over 409 separate published items on North West archaeology and historic environment topics in the last 11 years, and several thousand grey literature, developer-funded, reports. We are still tracking down the published material so this figure can only increase.

Certain archaeological sites standout as highlights from the last decade: the prehistoric footprints along the beaches at Formby; the Mesolithic site at Stainton West near Carlisle; the amber necklace from Shaw Cairn; the Iron Age sites at Poulton in Cheshire and Mellor in Greater Manchester; Roman hoards from Cheshire (Knutsford and Malpas) and Cumbria (Crosby Garret helmet); the LIDAR revolution’s impact of locating Roman roads; new findings from late Roman Maryport and Ribchester; new dating tehcniques that are allowing the identifification of more early Medieval sites; early medieval activity from the Chester amphitheatre; the Cumwhitton Viking-age cemetery; Viking-era hoards such as Furness and Silverdale; early medieval settlement at Stainton; medieval longhouses in the Duddon valley; excavations at Buckton, Halton and Wolsty castles; the crozier from Furness Abbey; building surveys of late medieval cruck and defence structures; landscape surveys of the post-medieval landscapes of Dunham and Warburton; the recording of graffiti on buildings such as Little Moreton and Ordsall halls; fish traps on the River Ribble near Hutton; building surveys of post-medieval halls such as Bramhall, Holme, Ordsall and Tongue; post-medieval urban studies of Cockermouth, Penrith and Salford; new excavations of iron working sites at Cunsey Forge and the Stanley Bank and Lymm slitting mills; mining landscape surveys in the lake District and on Alston Moor; and industrial period sites including barn surveys in Lancashire; excavations on the Booth, Moston and Timperley hall sites; the excavation of Manchester’s first cotton spinning mill built by Richard Arkwright in 1781-83; workers’ housing excavations in Ancoats in Manchester and in Salford; and graveyard excavations at Burnley and at Cross Street Chapel in Manchester; the excavation of the early 19th century Hulme Barracks and the recording of World War 1 trenches on Walney island and at Watson Road in Blackpool.

Of equal significance has been the identification of development hotspots impacting on archaeological and standing building sites across the region. The redevelopment of city centre sites such as Carlisle, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester is no surprise. Yet smaller towns such as Bury, Lancaster, Middlewich and Stockport have also seen large amounts of redevelopment, as have particular rural building types such as the dis-used barns of Lancashire and the textile mills of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Most parts of the North West have seen archaeological excavation and survey work over the last decade, and the impact national parks and local societies is particularly noticeable in rural areas.

Microsoft PowerPoint - NWRRF_Intro_May17.pptxYet we must not forget the strains that the historic environment sector is under from cuts in local government funding to change sin university student recruitment. The numbers of planning archaeologist and museum archaeology specialists have all fallen in the region since 2006. Any sense that the voluntary sector could fill the gaps in conjunction with local professionals has been dispelled by the closure of several local museums including Haig Colliery and the Setantii museum in Tameside. The ups and downs of the professional archaeology sector, tied to the development cycle, has seen several field units close in the region (such as UMAU) and now university archaeology departments are facing uncertain times due to changing priorities and funding cuts.

After a decade of changing priorities, funding and emphasis for archaeology and heritage in the North West it is right that we should be re-assessing the value and role of the historic environment in the region. So far the communal effort has shown what a wealth of new data and techniques we have in the region. Now we have to decided between us what we think should be our priorities for research, engagement and dissemination in the next decade. And we shall do that with your help.