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:
Stage 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The 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.
10.10 – 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
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.
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.
Yet 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.
We have now finalised the conference programme for NWRRF uproject, which you can find below. Places are filling fast so we will be having an additional research frameworks seminar as part of the Dig Greater Archaeology Festival in June. More details of that event in the next few weeks time. For now if you have not yet booked for the 5th May here is the link:
Friday 5th May – The Storey Institute, Lancaster
9.30am: Registration with tea and coffee
10.00am Welcome from the Chair: Mike Nevell
10.05am The national context: Dan Miles
10.20am The North West Research Regional Framework:
Setting the Scene – Norman Redhead
10.40am Prehistoric Overview: Sue Stallibrass
11.10am: Comfort Break
11.30am Roman Overview: Rob Philpott
12.00pm Portable Antiquities Scheme key finds: Vanessa Oakden
12.30pm Early Medieval Overview: Rachel Newman
2.00pm Later Medieval Overview: Carolanne King
2.30pm Post-Medieval Overview: Ian Miller
3.00pm: Tea Break with tea and coffee
3.20pm Industrial & Modern Overview: Mike Nevell
3.50pm Historic Buildings: Marion Barter
4.20pm Questions, closing remarks, next steps: Mike Nevell
It is eleven years since the North West Archaeological Research Framework was published (see http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/mol/archaeology/arf/). Since then a large number of projects have taken place which have a bearing on the framework. These, 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 the research framework. 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 distributed. As with the previous NW Research Framework, we want stakeholders in the region’s historic environment 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.
The second half of the project will see thematic and period workshops this autumn 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. 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 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 programme and booking details for the first conference are available here at Eventbrite:
For the CBANW main website see:
As one of the main partners in the project CBA North West is providing this blogging website as part of the publicity of the project. We shall be posting a detailed programme her shortly. The launch conference will be held on Friday 5th May at The Storey, Lancaster. The period reports will also be available to view on this blog and will also be emailed out, together with information on feeding back comments. We also have pages on out blog site for an archaeological/historic environment bibliography which we ant to see evolve over the course of the project with input from individuals and organisations across the region.
Norman Redhead, GMAAS
Dr Mike Nevell, University of Salford