It is now 60 years since the first formal consideration of future research directions for the British Bronze Age (and other periods) was published. Its purpose was to ensure archaeologists were 'taking the best advantage of all our opportunities, whether for deliberate field-work or excavation, or for turning chance discoveries to good account', and 'to avoid the wastage involved by any overlapping or misdirecting of our energies' (Hawkes and Piggott 1948, 11). However, it is only in the last fifteen years or so that such frameworks have become a routine part of the research landscape, most notably with the set of Regional Research Frameworks (RRFs) for England and Wales, some of which are now published while others remain under active development. These have similar aims to the 1948 document but sit within a 'research landscape' that has changed profoundly since then. In particular there are concerns with the lack of academic focus and content in work driven by PPG16, and a need to provide academic reference points for cultural resource management (Olivier 1996, 1-2). The RRFs and similar documents - such as the research frameworks for the World Heritage Sites (WHSs) of Stonehenge, Avebury and Orkney (see Darvill 2007) - mean that numerous research topics for the Bronze Age have already been set out in the literature, covering areas of greater or lesser geographical size. Here I attempt a brief review and synthesis of the contents of these frameworks, and an assessment of current priorities in Bronze Age research.
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