August 24, 2011
Digging for history
Wherever you are in the country, a little bit of ancient local history will be lurking just under the surface. Whether it’s a Neolithic burial site or the remnants of Roman army camp it’s all there waiting to be discovered – if you know how to look for it. Archaeology Scotland has just launched a new scheme to help community groups, like the one from Aboyne, who decided to explore a hidden well
Wherever you are in the country, a little bit of ancient local history will be lurking just under the surface. Whether it’s a Neolithic burial site or the remnants of Roman army camp it’s all there waiting to be discovered – if you know how to look for it. Archaeology Scotland has just launched a new scheme to help community groups, like the one from Aboyne, who decided to explore a hidden well…more
Archaeology Scotland is launching a new Adopt-a-Monument scheme to give communities all over Scotland the skills and support they need in order to look after their local archaeology. The scheme targets forgotten and neglected sites and monuments all over the country from Neolithic chambered cairns to historic graveyards and gives local volunteers training in the archaeological skills needed to care for them. The aim of the project is to create a long-term pool of community archaeologists to record, conserve and improve understanding of the sites on their doorstep. The community chooses the monument it wishes to ‘adopt’ and Archaeology Scotland provides the advice and hands-on assistance they need to do so, including training in the kinds of state-of-the-art digital recording methods used in professional archaeology today.
One good example of how the scheme worked during its pilot phase took place at Poldhu Wells near Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. During a conversation in a pub members of the Cromar History Group were intrigued by a 1912 postcard picturing a man sitting by a granite lined well at Poldhu. Inspired to restore the site they quickly established an informal community group who were able to locate the natural mineral springs and set about restoring them.
The three wells entirely hidden from view by impenetrable undergrowth, but through determination and with further financial assistance from Cairngorms National Park Authority, the group were able to restore the wells, replace their access path and build a new bridge. They also put in place a way-marked trail to lead visitors from the centre of the village and back.
The Adopt-a-Monument scheme enabled Archaeology Scotland to assist in realising this project and it is a great example of what can be achieved. It harnessed the enthusiasm and passion people have for their local heritage and allowed them to see through an ambitious plan to restore a part of a community’s local heritage that may otherwise have been lost forever.
So whether a community group wishes to improve the access, condition, or the interpretation of a site, or simply to raise awareness of its importance, the Adopt-a-Monument Scheme will provide the professional advice and hands on assistance needed to make it happen.
Over the next few months Archaeology Scotland will be beginning work with community groups across Scotland in order to conserve and interpret a range of important archaeological and historical sites. There are still opportunities to have Archaeology Scotland help you adopt a local archaeological or historic site. Information on how to get involved can be found by contacting Archaeology Scotland and asking for information on the Adopt-a-Monument Scheme.
Adopt-a-Monument is supported by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Historic Scotland. The Scheme is being part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Argyll and the Islands and Highland LEADER 2007-13 Programmes.
For further information, please contact:
Phil Richardson, Adopt-a-Monument Project Manager at Archaeology Scotland on 08458723333 and email@example.com