What is the Archaeological Research Framework?

Ancient standing stones in a field with mountains in the distance

Castlerigg stone circle, Cumbria, © Gill Chitty

The Archaeological Research Framework is designed to provide an overview of current archaeological knowledge in the North West of England, where the most significant gaps lie and how they may best be addressed.

The formulation of a Research Framework for archaeology in the North West was initiated by English Heritage and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers.

In the 1996 review document 'Frameworks for Our Past' English Heritage identified the need for a greater emphasis on research within modern archaeology. The survey suggested that while archaeology was becoming increasingly professionalised, the work being undertaken was perceived to have less focus on current research issues.

The recommendation was the formulation of Research Frameworks for each of the regions of England to provide a context and common focus for archaeological work. The North West region covers the modern counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, and contains the Lake District National Park, the western extremity of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the western fringes of the Peak District National Park.

Work on developing the Research Framework for the North West started with a conference, Framing the Past, held in Lancaster in 2001, and began as a full-time project in August 2003. The project was supported by English Heritage and by all of the region's principal archaeological organisations. The project co-ordinator was based within Cumbria County Council.

The Framework is designed to provide an overview of current archaeological knowledge, where the most significant gaps lie, and how they may best be addressed.

Large red brick building

Victoria Baths, Manchester, © Gill Chitty

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