In 1999 the first Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Framework document was produced. Due to significant advances in Palaeolithic research, a new Research and Conservation Framework document was published in 2008 for the Palaeolithic alone, in which it was noted that Mesolithic archaeology had developed a distinct agenda and set of requirements.

Since 1999, Mesolithic archaeology has indeed changed significantly: many important discoveries have been made and there has been increased interest in the period among both archaeologists and the public.

A new Mesolithic Framework was necessary in order to improve understanding of the period and guide future work. Accordingly this document outlines the current challenges facing the study of the Mesolithic, as well as the opportunities, and sets out a series of research themes and strategies to address these over-arching aims.