Archaeology in the North West of England

By Jonathan Trigg

Despite the demise of television shows such as Time Team, archaeology with Continuing Education at the University of Liverpool remains as popular as ever, and we continue to offer some fascinating archaeological courses looking at our region and the wider area. What is it about archaeology that makes it so appealing in the North West? Personally, I think it is the result of the variety of archaeology in the region, and the diversity of ways that you can get involved in one way or another.

Perhaps it is the diversity that is so attractive. The landscape of the region is varied, and so is the archaeology. From nationally significant sites of the Mesolithic Period to monuments of the Industrial Revolution, we have it all here in the North West. Examples of the earliest hunter-gatherers can be found in Lunt Meadows; some of the first farmers buried their dead in a tomb made from the stones in Calderstones Park. Stone axes were quarried from and made in massive axe factories in Penmaenmawr, North Wales and the Langdale in the Lake District. For those of you interested in forts and castles, there are the Iron Age hillforts of the marches and the medieval castles of Edwardian North Wales. For the Romans, Chester is a short trip away, and for more recent archaeology, Liverpool is built on Georgian industrial wealth and let us not forget our historic port!


Want to see some archaeology in the flesh? There are some great museums that you can go to locally, and better still are free entry. The Museum of Liverpool and World Museum both have excellent collections and are both well worth a visit. Further afield, why not try the Manchester Museum, or in your interest is Roman why not take in the Grosvenor Museum in Chester, not forgetting to visit the site of the amphitheatre en route? The University’s own collections are available too – the Victoria Gallery and Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday and the Garstang Museum of Archaeology is open on Wednesdays.


Keeping up with the latest research is easy too. The University hosts regular lectures on a wide variety of topics, and we are lucky to have a large number of societies who are very active. The Council for British Archaeology has a North West Group and there is also the Merseyside Archaeology Society and Middleton Archaeological Group. All of these groups also organise regular lectures and have regular conferences on local topics, as do the Liverpool Museum. And for the children and grandchildren don’t forget that there is the Young Archaeologists Club.


One final note; surely one of the greatest pleasures in archaeology is the practical side of the subject. We are fortunate in Continuing Education to be able to have been involved in a number of projects across the region and to have had our students take part in them. There are numerous opportunities for participation in community archaeology projects throughout the region. For example, Bidston Community Archaeology currently have projects on Bidston Hill and Great Budworth in Cheshire. Liverpool Museums are also particularly active here, and have recently run projects in Sefton, Leasowe, Rainford and Childwall to name but a few.

Want to be involved? Why not have a browse of our current Archaeology programme here  Archaeology programme 2015/16