Day of Archaeology

Have you ever wondered what archaeologists really get up to? Is it all just digging or is there a lot more to it? The Day of Archaeology project aims to provide a window into the daily lives of archaeologists from all over the world.  The project asks people working, studying or volunteering in the archaeological world to participate with us in a “Day of Archaeology” each year in the summer by recording their day and sharing it through text, images or video. The results demonstrate the wide variety of work the profession undertakes day-to-day across the globe, and helps to raise public awareness of the relevance and importance of archaeology to the modern world.

The project is run by a team of volunteers who are all professional archaeologists and this is the sixth year that the project has been running. Take a look at Senior Archaeologist Alison Heke’s Day of Archaeology.

The secret history of Grosvenor Park

Council archaeologists have once again been working with students to uncover the history of a Chester landmark.

The Historic Environment Team have been working in Grosvenor Park with second year students from the University of Chester as part of their annual training dig.

Over the years there have been few digs in the park. This was partly due to it being on the outskirts of the city and it was thought that there could be nothing there of importance. This recent work has proved, however, that the park has a very interesting past.

During the excavation evidence for Roman, medieval and later history, including a medieval ditch, a medieval building and a Roman road that once led to the east entrance of the amphitheatre was uncovered. The team also found traces of a timber-framed building, part of Sir Hugh Cholmondeley’s mansion, which was destroyed during the Civil War siege of 1645. This mansion incorporated the impressive stone walls of a medieval building that was once part of the precinct of the Church of St John the Baptist.

Said Cheryl Quinn, Senior Archaeologist for Cheshire West and Chester “Besides the digging, the students had a full programme of work, learning how to record the site, clean and identify the finds as well as engaging with the public. They might have found it very daunting at the start, but they ended up enjoying it tremendously”.

If you would like to find out what the students thought of training to become archaeologists of the future then visit their Dig Blog

Archaeology Planning Advisory Service – Summary of the Review March 2015


The Archaeology Planning Advisory Service (APAS) is a sub-regional service which provides advice on the archaeological implications of development for Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC), Cheshire East (CE), Warrington and Halton Borough Councils. The service operates as a shared service between CWAC and CE, and provides services to Halton and Warrington via service level agreements. The service to Halton also includes the provision of advice on the implications of development on the built historic environment. The service is hosted by CWAC.

The service was reviewed in 2014 to consider the ongoing viability of the current service provision, the potential for future service delivery and the opportunities for increased efficiency through growth or retraction of service delivery.

The review process consisted of staff consultation, key stakeholder consultation with services users and national bodies such as English Heritage, public consultation and soft market testing.

Key findings

Key finding from the consultation were: 

  • High levels of satisfaction with APAS and the advice provided across the four authorities served.
  • Successful sub-regional working already in place – a good base on which to build for future service delivery.
  • Good performance with a track record for budget efficiency and securing external funding.
  • Limited market for externalisation and potential for conflict of interest.

It was anticipated that the review would also be informed by a Ministerial Inquiry in to the archaeology sector carried out in 2014, but this report is still outstanding.  However English Heritage has recognised the issues faced by local authorities and has identified collaboration with local authorities to explore alternative models for providing heritage advice in the Historic England Action Plan 2015-2018.


Following approval of the review recommendations by the Cheshire West and Cheshire East Shared Service Committee on 27 February 2015, the Archaeology Planning Advisory Service will: 

  1. Be retained in-house in an enhanced form of the current sub-regional service, through closer partnership working with other heritage agencies.
  2. Remain within the Total Environment Service.
  3. Explore closer partnership working with Chester University, English Heritage and neighbouring authorities and income generation through project working.
  4. Explore opportunities for income generation through introduction of charges for selected archaeological development management services.

Future staffing structure

The current Service Manager post will be deleted, with service management being transferred to the Total Environment Manager. The archaeological professional lead will devolve to the current Principal Development Management Archaeologist, who will still lead on development management. Other staff members will be: one development management archaeologist and two historic environment record officers. This staffing structure will take effect from 1 April 2015.

Archaeology Service Users Consultation Results

The results of the Archaeology Service Users consultation can be viewed here.

Church Lawton Barrow Excavations Published

Two Bronze age round barrows were excavated in 1982–3 at Church Lawton near Alsager by Robina McNeil. They have been brought to publication by Malcolm Reid in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society/ Volume 80 / December 2014, pp 237 – 277

Information about the journal of the Prehistoric Society can be found here



New Journal of Chester Archaeological Society Published

Volume 84 of the Chester Archaeological Society Journal covers the years 2010-2014. It features the results of a number of archaeological excavations in Cheshire and Warrington, with reports on Southworth Quarry, Winwick, and Second Wood Street, Nantwich plus a review of work carried out by APAS in 2013.

For more details see the  Chester Archaeological Society webpages

20th Century Air-Raid Precaution Railway Control Centres Report

This report was commissioned from leading members of the Airfield Research Group by English Heritage, in order to have a better understanding of 20th century air raid precaution railway control centres in England. This report builds on research and a survey completed on the Chester District type A2 Railway Control Centre, demolished during March 2014. The original report on this building is included here as a test case.  Available as a free download from the English Heritage Website.

Case studies published by English Heritage

The work of the Cheshire HER is featured in a number of English Heritage best practice publications

Sites and Monuments Record to Historic Environment Record: Local Authority Case Studies

Local lists in Cheshire

New website for Archaeology in Cheshire Launched

Find out about local government archaeological services in Cheshire, Warrington and Halton at