Archaeological training courses go on offer

A team of experienced archaeologists from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) will lead a training course in Shetland in June.

The course is being run in conjunction with the archaeology section of Shetland Amenity Trust, as part of the Scotland’s Rural Past nationwide project, and the organisers are calling for local people to sign up and get involved.

Scotland’s Rural Past (SRP) is a five-year project, working with local groups, schools and individuals to investigate record and raise awareness of abandoned settlements in their local area.

SRP aims to encourage volunteers to discover more about historic rural settlements and the people that lived in them, and to improve understanding of rural heritage dating back several hundred years.

The SRP team teach valuable new techniques and skills in identifying, surveying and recording archaeological features, and in researching historical documents.

The information gathered by the volunteers becomes part of the local Sites and Monuments Records and the RCAHMS database, housed in Edinburgh, where it will be made accessible to the general public and preserved for the future.

On 5th and 6th June a two-day training course in Unst will focus on archaeological survey and recording techniques, while on 10th June a one-day course on historical document research will be held at the Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick.

The courses are free and are open to anyone interested in researching their local history. No experience is necessary, just a genuine desire to become involved in a local heritage project.

The SRP team are interested in hearing from individuals, groups or schools who are keen to research and record their local history and would like to talk about setting up a local project with SRP.

The team will be in Shetland from 2nd to 10th June and would like to meet anyone interested in developing a project to research, record or raise awareness of Shetland’s rural history.

One of the SRP projects will be run by the Unst Archaeology Group, which plans to build on survey work carried out by local woman June Owers in the 1970s and 1980s. During that time she recorded all the farmsteads in Unst by making plans and drawings. The archive will be accessible in the Unst Heritage Centre and digital versions will be made widely available through the Shetland Archives and the RCAHMS database.

The Unst group and SRP would be happy to hear from anyone interested in getting involved with this project.

SRP project manager Tertia Barnett said: “The project team is really looking forward to visiting Shetland. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Unst Archaeology Group and others to expand on the excellent work carried out by June Owers in the 70s and 80s and hope to also involve the local schools in the research.

“We would also like to hear from any other individual, group or school interested in developing their own SRP project and will be in Shetland for a week in June to meet people and visit their sites – we would like to make the project into an island-wide contribution. We have been overwhelmed by the response from volunteers from all around Scotland, with many of the previous training courses becoming fully booked very quickly.”

To register interest in a place or for further information please email or call 0131 662 1456.


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