R A Croft, chair of SWALGAO

The South West of England is one of the richest archaeological regions in the UK and the results of this Resource Assessment and Research Agenda present a significant document for archaeological work from both a regional, national and European perspective. The project was coordinated and supported by SWALGAO with direct financial support from English Heritage. During the gestation period of this report there have been numerous developments in policies and plans along with changes in personnel. It has taken over 10 years of discussions, meetings, seminars, consultation and cajoling to carry out this survey and publish the results. I would like to thank all the period convenors and contributors to this report and particularly thank Adrian Olivier and Kathy Perrin of English Heritage for their patience and support. This report will be of value to local authority archaeologists, English Heritage staff, university researchers and students, local groups, developers, regional agencies, contractors and consultants involved with research into the historic environment of the region. The volume has a projected life of five years but its publication represents a significant milestone by providing a statement of our knowledge of the region at the start of the 21st century. It arrives at an important time when local government changes are underway and the whole focus of heritage protection in England is set to change. Chris Webster of Somerset County Council was seconded for over two years to pull together this report and we owe him a considerable debt in pulling together a wide range of evidence and presenting it in a readable and comprehensive report. This is very much a shared vision for the region and one that will provide a platform for further research – it is a beginning and not an end it itself.

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