The Merseyside Archaeological Service

The Merseyside Archaeological Advisory Service closed on 31 March 2011. The Service, which had been hosted by National Museums Liverpool on behalf of the Merseyside local authorities for 20 years, closed because the partners cut all funding. The partners were: The City of Liverpool, Knowsley Council, St Helens Council, Sefton Council and the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.

The Merseyside Historic Environment Record has now been transferred to the  Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS), to whom all enquiries should be made.

What was the Merseyside Archaeological Service?

The Merseyside Archaeological Advisory Service (MAAS) was set up in 1991 and jointly funded by all five Merseyside local authorities (Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral) to provide an archaeological planning advisory service. The MAAS was hosted by National Museums Liverpool and was based within the Museum of Liverpool division.

Only five percent of heritage is designated and protected by law. Government relies on the care and protection for the rest, the vast amount of England's heritage, through local government implementing its national policy through historic environment specialists, including archaeological specialists (mostly from in-house or thorough agreement with other authorities).This enables proportionate, consistent, informed, impartial and timely advice - a guide on behalf of the local authorities to fulfil their obligations and also assist the work of developers and their consultants in with regards to heritage within the local government planning system. This is the key means by which the country ensures the investigation, recording, protection, presentation and access to our heritage.

Archaeologist kneeling in an excavated patch of ground

Excavating building foundations

The MAAS provided the specialist archaeological advisory service - including advice on a range of development planning issues associated with the conservation and management of the overall historic environment, ie evidence of our past as seen in archaeological remains, historic buildings and landscapes of all periods. The MAAS also managed the development of and access to the Merseyside Historic Environment Record (HER), which it used to assist in the provision of advice and information to a range of enquirers.

The main areas of work consisted of advice on individual development proposals, local authority management plans, strategies and policy. The main working contacts were officers within the local authority Planning Departments whom the MAAS advised on the requirements for archaeological investigations.

Please contact the relevant local planning department for further information.