Archaeological remains and monuments are vital evidence of our past history. They are, however, highly vulnerable to damage and destruction and if lost can never be replaced.
Local Authorities have responsibilities for the protection and recording of sites and monuments, as set out in Planning Policy Statement 5 Planning for the Historic Environment.
The Council has no in-house specialist capacity for archaeological work and does not employ an Archaeologist. However, the Bury Council jointly supports the posts of County and Assistant County Archaeologist at the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU) and relies upon its service for all archaeological advice. GMAU maintains a database, the 'Historic Environment Record' of all known archaeological sites in the Borough. The database contains chance finds, burial remains, historic buildings, parks and gardens and industrial monuments. The Council also occasionally engages archaeologists to prepare individual reports in connection with its own projects.
The Historic Environment Record for Bury includes approximately 1,300 identified archaeological sites. These vary greatly in importance and character. Many sites are poorly understood through lack of research. It is essential that appropriate consultations take place when these sites are affected by development and the appropriate action taken to preserve or record the archaeological evidence. When proposals are put forward for development, the Council can require archaeological investigation of the land through the production of desk studies, excavation and a watching brief during development. In some circumstances, the developer may also be required to provide lasting interpretation to explain the site history and importance, and to submit documents and finds to update records. The Council should also be aware that, in addition to the 1300 known sites, there will always be unknown remains that may come to light as a result of development or other actions.
Ancient Monuments are included within the Historic Environment Record. There are four such monuments in Bury which are of national importance and which are protected by being Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs). There are other monuments, structures and remains that are also important but are not currently protected.
The protected monuments are:
Bury Castle - c1469, the remains of a fortified and moated manor house located in the heart of Bury Town Centre.
Radcliffe Tower - c1403, adjacent to the line of the former Roman road at Radcliffe E'es.
Affetside Cross - A post-medieval cross adjacent to Watling Street, the Roman road from Manchester to Ribchester.
Castlesteads - Iron Age/Roman settlement and hill fort set on a promontory north of Bury Town Centre.