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Arguably the most famous Mesolithic site in Britain or Europe, Star Carr in Yorkshire, has today been scheduled

As promised, we begin a short series looking at Archaeology Societies around Britain. Our hope is to inspire people to become more involved with their local archaeology in an organised hands-on way. We begin our journey in the NorthWest.

The NorthWest region is bounded on the west by the Irish Sea, and North Wales on the south west. The region extends from the Scottish Borders in the north to the northern margins of the English Midlands in the south. Geographically, the North West is probably best known for the Lake District and is bounded by the Peak District and the Pennines to the south and the east.

This area takes in the counties of Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, Lancashire and Cheshire.

NorthWest region (Creative Commons)

Whilst we here at Heritage Action concern ourselves primarily with the pre-Roman Heritage of Britain, local societies cover a full spectrum of interests and can often either be remarkably broad, or very specific in their focus and it’s really down to the individual to find one that covers their own interests. That said, the NorthWest itself provides broad scope for local societies, from the prehistoric heritage of the Lake District National Park, to the Industrial Heritage of the Lancashire cotton mills. Below is a brief outline for a selection of societies in the area.

The Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society

Membership is renewable annually in July and is open to anyone with an interest in the history of Cumbria. Main categories are Member (£21); Family Member, at reduced price; and Associate Member, at reduced price (student in full time education). Members receive a newsletter 3 times a year, and an annual ‘Transactions’ volume. They also have the opportunity to benefit from lectures, guided walks, guided visits, occasional excursions and an annual dinner or lunch. The Society is welcomed into historic homes and buildings not normally open to the public. A broad range of publications is produced.

Lancaster Archaeological and Historical Society

Annual membership is £12.50 for individuals, concession rates are available, and all members receive the ‘Contrebis’ journal. The society was founded in 1973 and currently has around 100 members. Lecture meetings are held from September to April with topics alternating between history and archaeology. Field trips to sites of historical and archaeological interest are made during the summer. The Society’s official journal ‘Contrebis’ is published annually and contains articles on archaeology and local history in Lancashire and the North West of England.

Chester Archaeological Society

Annual membership is £20 for individuals. Other grades of membership are available. Ordinary, Associate and Student Members are entitled to:

  • Attend lectures organised by the Society free of charge
  • Take part in the Society’s excursions at preferential rates
  • Borrow books from the Society’s library

All members receive copies of the Society’s twice-yearly newsletter, The Chester Antiquary. Ordinary, Student and Institutional Members also receive copies of the Society’s Journal. Society activities include monthly lectures from the Autumn to the Spring, Summer excursions on demand, fieldwork projects, campaigning on local heritage issues, publication of an annual journal and a twice-yearly newsletter, and maintenance of a specialist library. The society’s Fieldwork Group offers members an opportunity to take part in primary archaeological research and to acquire the relevant skills. Whenever possible, projects are carried out over weekends and public holidays.

Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

Ammual membership is £7.50 with £1 entrance to meetings. The web site suggests that field trips are arranged, but the provided schedule covers the regular meetings only at present. A range of articles by members is available on the web site, along with an archive of their online magazine.

Lancashire Archaeological Society

Individual membership is £9. The society’s stated mission is “to encourage and promote interest in archaeology and history, particularly of the County Palatine of Lancashire.” There is a yearly programme of 5 evening talks, plus a members’ evening, and visits to sites of interest. Items planned for 2012 include:

  • What did the Romans really do at Walton-le-Dale?
  • Viking DNA and the North of England project.
  • Excursion. Liverpool’s earliest docks, and tunnel ventilation shaft.
  • Bronze Age burials.
  • Dispute maps in Tudor Lancashire.

South Trafford Archaeology Group (STAG)

Annual individual subscription is £14. Members receive a copy of the quarterly journal “Browsings”. The group was “formed in 1979 and is now one of the principal volunteer archaeology groups in the North-west of England. Since its formation the Group has provided an opportunity for enthusiasts from South Manchester and North-east Cheshire to take part in all aspects of archaeological research in the region.” A wide range of projects are undertaken.

Manchester Region Industrial Archaeology Society

Annual membership is £14. The society provides monthly lectures on topics of industrial archaeology and related interests October to May, field visits, site surveys and various social events. Members receive a quarterly newsletter that includes news, reviews and articles of topical interest. A range of publications is available, and several projects are currently under way. The society has a photostream on Flickr (link to of some of their field trips

Useful Links:

Remember that theose societies depicted above are only a representative sample. If your area is not featured, then a web search may well prove fruitful for you.


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