Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
For over two decades, SCAPE and the University of St Andrews have worked with coastal communities to record heritage at risk from the sea. Our collaborative projects have explored different types of action; and this lecture will focus on five projects, showing how Scottish community groups were able to save something of their important local heritage.
In Shetland, a massive stone structure was uncovered during a storm. By simply cleaning the eroding coast edge and taking samples from the exposed archaeological layers, the history of this Iron Age building was revealed. In Orkney, a mound of fire-cracked rocks and Bronze Age stone walls was uncovered on a beach. The community wished to save the structures, and while relocating the stonework to their island Heritage Centre, made some surprising discoveries. In the Outer Hebrides, we worked with an island community to excavate an Iron Age wheelhouse, a large stone roundhouse with many secrets buried beneath its floor. A Highland community used historical records to show that eroding stone walls in the dunes were associated with sixteenth century salt making. After the site was washed away, they preserved its memory at the Heritage Centre by reconstructing a saltpan to show visitors the process of converting seawater to salt. And an east coast community recorded a treasure trove of Pictish artwork carved onto local cave walls. Using traditional techniques and the latest digital technology, they’ve made the mystery and majesty of the ancient caves accessible to all.