Introducing the Research Strategy

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The regional synthesis that was published in 2006 incorporated a period-based research agenda and identified a series of overarching research themes. This formed the foundation for an Updated Research Agenda and Strategy that was published in 2012 and launched later that year at a conference in Derby. That document represented the final stage for the East Midlands of the Regional Research Framework initiative that was proposed in Frameworks for our Past[1] and incorporated a research strategy for the region’s historic environment that we hope will be revised regularly on the basis of input to this digital resource.

Compiling the Strategy

Compilation of the Strategy was coordinated by David Knight and Blaise Vyner, with valuable input from Carol Allen in its earlier stages. It was made possible by funding provided by Historic England and was guided by a Steering Group with members drawn from the curatorial, academic, contracting and consultancy sectors. The project also benefited from the input of an advisory panel comprising a broad range of period and subject experts who advised on all aspects of the historic environment. Beyond this, we consulted widely with individuals and organisations with interests in the historic environment, including developers, consultants and voluntary bodies, together with archaeologists and buildings specialists from the academic, contracting, curatorial and museum sectors. Representatives of other national and regional organisations, including such diverse bodies as Historic England, the National Trust, The Institute for Historic Building Conservation, Natural England and the Environment Agency, were also consulted.

Research strategies were discussed initially at a workshop on the built environment that was convened in December 2008. This generated a draft strategy for the built environment resource that helped to inform discussions at a Strategy Workshop convened in April 2009. Strategies proposed by participants in the latter workshop were incorporated into a document that was disseminated widely for feedback. Comments were incorporated into a final draft, which was circulated to consultees for further feedback. All comments were taken into account during the preparation of the Updated Strategy, which represents a distillation of many opinions on the priorities for future research.

Presenting the Strategy 

Building the Research Foundations

This initial section focuses upon measures that it is recommended be implemented in order to enhance the regional research resource. Discussions with stakeholders have highlighted a number of key measures, which are considered here under the following five headings: 

  • Enhancing data quality
  • Making better use of the archive
  • Enhancing published and online services
  • Improving communications
  • Enhancing the environmental resource

Period Strategic Objectives

The Strategic Objectives that were defined during stakeholder discussions are summarised for each period in tables designed to show clearly correlations between Agenda Topics and Objectives. For convenience of description, each Objective has been allocated a unique alphanumeric code incorporating the relevant period number (1A, 1B, etc).

For each period, the correlation table is followed by a concise description of each Strategic Objective and by details of the following:

  • Correlations with Updated Research Agenda topics
  • Correlations with the Archaeology of the East Midlands
  • Correlations with other research frameworks
  • References in footnote format

It is hoped that this will provide for each Strategic Objective a readily accessible source of information that will facilitate the preparation of applications for research funding by stakeholders.

Correlations with other Research Frameworks

A wide range of period- and subject-based research frameworks has been prepared by Historic England and other organisations. These have been consulted to establish potential synergies with the Research Strategy that is  proposed here. For convenience of reference, key documents that were consulted during preparation of the Research Agenda and Strategy are listed below.


  • English Heritage 2011 Research Strategy for Prehistory. London: English Heritage
  • Haselgrove, C, Armit, I, Champion, T et al 2001 Understanding the British Iron Age: An Agenda for Action: A report for the Iron Age Research Seminar and the Council of the Prehistoric Society. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology
  • Lithics Studies Society 2004 Research Frameworks for Holocene Lithics in Britain. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology
  • Peeters, H, Murphy, P and Flemming, N (eds) 2009 North Sea Prehistory Research and Management Framework (NSPRMF). Amersfoort: English Heritage and Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed
  • Pettitt, P, Chamberlain, A and Wall, I 2010 A Research Framework for the Archaeology and Palaeontology of Creswell Crags and the Limestone Heritage Area. Creswell Heritage Trust
  • Pettitt, P, Gamble, C and Last, J (eds) 2008 Research and Conservation Framework for the British Palaeolithic. London: English Heritage and Prehistoric Society
  • Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group 2010 The Study of Pottery. General Policies and Guidelines for Analysis and Publication, 3 edn (PCRG Occasional Papers 1 and 2). Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology
  • Working Party for the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Annual Day Meeting and the Council of the Prehistoric Society 1999 Research Frameworks for the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of Britain and Ireland. Salisbury: Prehistoric Society


  • James, S and Millett, M (eds) 2001 Britons and Romans: Advancing an Archaeological Agenda (CBA Research Report 125). London: Council for British Archaeology
  • Van der Veen, M, Livardi, A and Hill, A 2007 ‘The archaeobotany of Roman Britain: Current state and identification of research priorities’. Britannia 38, 181-210
  • Willis, S 2004 ‘The Study Group for Roman pottery: Research framework document for the study of Roman pottery in Britain’. Journal of Roman Pottery Studies 11, 1-20

Early Medieval to Modern

  • Williamson, T 2007 Archaeological perspectives on landed estates: research agendas in Finch, J and Giles, K (eds) Estate Landscapes: Design, Improvement and Power in the Post-Medieval Landscape. Woodbridge: the Boydell Press, 1-16

Multiperiod and Sub-Regional Research Frameworks

  • Canti, M 2009 A Review of Geoarchaeology in the Midlands of England. London: English Heritage
  • Catney, S and Start, D (eds) 2001 Time and Tide: The Archaeology of the Witham Valley. Heckington: Witham Valley Archaeological Research Committee
  • Foard, G 2008 Conflict in the Pre-Industrial Landscape of England: a Resource Assessment. University of Leeds
  • Jones, M J, Stocker, D and Vince, A 2003 The City by the Pool: Assessing the Archaeology of the City of Lincoln. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
  • Williams, J 2009 The Use of Science to Enhance Our Understanding of the Past (National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2). London: English Heritage


  • [1] Olivier, A 1996 Frameworks for Our Past. London: English Heritage

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