Skip to main content
School of Environment and Life Sciences

Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service

The centre hosts the Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service which acts as the archaeological curator for the ten Districts of Greater Manchester.

GMAAS staff provide advice across the county on all matters relating to archaeology and the planning process, including appropriate protection and recording measures on development sites. This advice is in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (Department for Communities and Local Government, March 2012), especially paragraphs 128 to 141. GMAAS maintains the Greater Manchester Historic Environment Record to aid this planning process (NPPF2012, paras 169-170).

Developers, planning consultants, and archaeological contractors are strongly advised to contact the Service at the earliest opportunity in the planning process for advice and to consult the Greater Manchester Historic Environment Record (NPPF2012, paras 188-192).

The Role of GMAAS

GMAAS undertakes the following planning work on behalf of AGMA (the association of Greater Manchester Authorities):

  • Advising on identifying Heritage Assets with an archaeological interest and understanding their significance
  • Assessing the likely archaeological implications of development proposals
  • Recommending any necessary archaeological work as a planning condition
  • Liaising with planners and developers to mitigate impacts on significant archaeology
  • Preparing briefs and advising on written schemes of investigation
  • Monitoring archaeological works
  • Providing lists of archaeological consultants, contractors and specialists
  • Mediating between clients and archaeological contractors
  • Preparing research agendas within the planning process
  • Enhancing the Historic Environment Record as a planning tool and public record
  • Promoting dissemination of results from archaeological investigations

The Historic Environment Record

This is a Geographical Information System (GIS) and linked database of more than 18,000 records relating to known sites of cultural heritage interest. It also includes the recently completed Greater Manchester Historic Landscape Characterisation survey (of c. 54,000 records) and is supported by an extensive paper archive including reports, site records and publications.

Archaeology within Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester has an extraordinarily important and diverse history which is reflected in a rich historic environment of archaeological sites, monuments and buildings, museum collections of national and international importance, and historical archives, records and in particular the Historic Environment Record.

The historic environment assets of Greater Manchester include: Prehistoric burial mounds and hillforts; Roman forts; Medieval townscapes and the Post-Medieval legacy of the region's industrial past (such as canals, railways and textile mills), which together provide a rich resource for archaeological enquiry, study, management and development.

Enquiries relating to accessing Historic Environment Records, archaeological planning advice, and charges, where appropriate, can be made through


Norman Redhead - Heritage Management Director (Archaeology)
Andrew Myers -  Senior Planning Archaeologist
Lesley Dunkley - Historic Environment Records Officer