OA North is based in Lancaster and operates across the north of England and North Wales, and elsewhere in conjunction with our colleagues in other parts of the company. We have been in existence since 1979, first as the Cumbria and Lancashire Archaeological Unit, from 1986 as the Lancaster University Archaeological Unit and, since 2001, as part of Oxford Archaeology. OA North has around 50 staff working on a wide range of commercial, research and community programmes.
At OA North we pride ourselves particularly in our landscape and building survey projects and these skills have allowed us to undertake a number of important strategic studies. Our extensive fieldwork portfolio has enabled us to develop a particular expertise in industrial archaeology, and work on our infrastructure projects has led to innovative methods of processing and recording.
We have an enviable reputation for our involvement in community and outreach programmes. These have included a number of projects with the National Trust, for example Windermere Reflections, Quarry Bank Mill and Sizergh ‘Dig in the Park’. Our work on our industrial sites has provided ideal opportunities to involve local communities in investigating the heritage with which they closely identify (for example Ditherington Flax Mill, Birley Fields, Manchester and Tottington Bleach Works near Bury), including in some of Britain’s most deprived areas, for example Tootle Bleach Works, Bolton. A number of these projects have led to popular publications.
The Lancaster Imprints series has been in existence since 1994 and is testament to our long-standing commitment to academic publication of our projects. This includes the seven North West Wetland volumes, the two-volume Carlisle Millennium and Cairns, Fields and Cultivation. In common with the other OA offices, we have been engaged by English Heritage and others in a range of synthetic research projects, and our staff regularly author academic papers for a variety of periodicals.