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Community Archaeology Team


Community Archaeology Team

After five very productive years, SRP draws to a close on 30 September 2011. However, we hope that you will not see this as an end to your activities and that you will continue to develop your fieldwork and research after SRP, whether this is based on rural settlements or on other types of archaeological remains.

RCAHMS has appointed Steve Boyle as Community Liaison Manager for the organisation. Steve was one of the original architects of SRP and has contributed to a number of our training courses. Many of you know Steve also from more informal support sessions in the field. Steve will be assisted by the 'Skills for the Future' community archaeology trainee, Amy Gillespie, who has joined RCAHMS for a year until April 2012. Amy will be replaced in April 2012 by another trainee on the same scheme for a further year. Steve and Amy will form the Community Archaeology Team, under the management of Piers Dixon who directed SRP and has participated in many of the training sessions, with contributions from other RCAHMS staff members.

RCAHMS aims to continue providing support from the office and in the field for groups and individuals interested in researching and recording archaeological sites. The level of support available will be more limited than during SRP, but all queries will still be dealt with and, where possible, field support will be provided by the Community Archaeology Team.

On 30 September, the SRP email address will be replaced by the new email address for the Community Archaeology Team: communities@rcahms.gov.uk. Until the end of 2011, any messages sent to the SRP email will automatically be forwarded to the new address.

Support for education initiatives

Building on the work of SRP, RCAHMS would like to continue supporting archaeology-based education initiatives for schools and young people too. If you have suggestions for an initiative involving your local primary or secondary school, or youth groups in your area, please contact the Community Archaeology Team.

Remember also that extensive guidance, including Teachers' resource packs and specific case studies, is available on the SRP website 'Learning' pages.

Material from RCAHMS

Material from the RCAHMS Collections, such as aerial photographs, can be ordered via the RCAHMS website. We were able to provide this information free of charge under SRP, but when the project ends there will be a small charge for RCAHMS material to cover reproduction costs. These are detailed on the RCAHMS website. If you would like to discuss your requirements, or would like to have assistance when visiting the RCAHMS Search Room, please contact RCAHMS.


RCAHMS aims to continue running training courses, in partnership with other heritage-sector organisations where appropriate. A small number of courses are likely to be run each year in archaeological field recording and historical document research. Other courses and workshops may be developed in the future, so if you have any suggestions for possible training courses, please get in touch with the Community Archaeology Team. Information about forthcoming training will be sent round to people on the volunteer list, and will also be posted on the RCAHMS website 'News' page.

SRP fieldwork training videos and guide

To help more people undertake archaeological fieldwork, especially in the absence of 'live' training, the SRP team have produced four short fieldwork training videos and a detailed, illustrated archaeological fieldwork guide, A Practical Guide to Recording Archaeological Sites.

The videos will continue to be accessible on the SRP website and on YouTube (search for Scotland's Rural Past). The fieldwork guide is being sent out in late September 2011 to groups that have participated in SRP, and to anyone who has requested copies. Further copies are available from the Community Archaeology Team, and a downloadable pdf version can be accessed on both the SRP website and the RCAHMS website 'Publications' pages.

SRP website

The SRP website will be maintained by RCAHMS. All the guidance and information currently on the website will continue to be accessible at the same web address. However, some elements will be modified at the end of SRP:

The 'Projects' pages for all participating SRP projects will be viewable but it will not be possible for users to update them. If you have a Project page and you would like to have it removed from the website, please can you contact the Community Archaeology Team.

The 'What's on' page has been removed. All forthcoming events and activities will be advertised on the RCAHMS website 'News' page.

The online form will still be accessible through the SRP website for approved users for the immediate future. The Community Archaeology Team will let you know of any changes in the future.

Other pages may be removed or added in the future, depending on requirements.

Site records and data entry

If possible, please continue to submit your research and site records to RCAHMS using the SRP online form. This process will not change. Approved users with a secure username and password will still be able to submit their material as they did during SRP, using the online form on the SRP website. Detailed guidance on how to submit material using the online form is available on the SRP website, in the 'Submitting records' section, under 'Online form guidance'. Information submitted in this way will be validated and put into Canmore as soon as possible.

You are also encouraged to give a copy of your material to your local authority Historic Environment Record (HER) or Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). Contact details for your HER or SMR can be found on the RCAHMS website 'Links' page.

New users who have not been given a username and password by SRP are encouraged to submit their material via Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (DES), and to give a copy to their local HER or SMR. Information about submitting records via DES is currently available on the Archaeology Scotland website.

Sharing results and information

At the final SRP Conference in June 2011, RCAHMS Chief Executive, Diana Murray, pledged to continue supporting regular Community Archaeology conferences. Archaeology Scotland has already taken the lead on this, with the Commission's support, and discussion is underway about the format for a 2012 conference.

We would also like to encourage you to continue to share information about your work widely through other media, such as printed publications, presentations to local groups, guided walks, and the internet, as well as through collaboration with other volunteer groups and individuals. The Community Archaeology Team is keen to encourage collaboration, and aims to develop vehicles for this in the future.


SRP equipment will be managed by the Community Archaeology Team at RCAHMS. All participating SRP groups have been contacted about equipment loans and have either returned their equipment or have been sent a loan agreement to cover a three year loan period. After three years, the Community Archaeology Team will be in contact to discuss the whether the loan agreement needs to be extended.

There are a number of sets of survey equipment held at RCAHMS for training and for short-term loans for new projects. Please contact the Community Archaeology Team if you would like to borrow any equipment. If you have equipment on loan but find you no longer need it, please can you arrange to return it to the Community Archaeology Team so that it can be used by others.

SRP publication

Copies of the SRP publication, Scotland's Rural Past: Community Archaeology in Action, are available from the Community Archaeology Team. A pdf version is also available on the SRP and RCAHMS websites 'Publications' pages.

SRP evaluation

As many of you may remember, SRP has been evaluated over its five years by our tenacious external evaluators, Scottish Cultural Enterprise (SCE). The full evaluation report from SCE and a shorter executive summary are available as pdfs on the SRP website Evaluation page.

New community projects

RCAHMS has already started a new community archaeology project in the Cairngorms, in association with the Cairngorms National Park Authority. If you are living in the area and would like to be involved with the project, please contact Steve Boyle through the communities@rcahms.gov.uk mail box.

A further project, run by the new RCAHMS Buildings at Risk team, is currently being developed and is due to start in 2012. The project will be looking for volunteers; further information will be available on the RCAHMS website.

Who to contact

For all enquiries about community archaeology, data entry, guidance, equipment and publications, contact the Community Archaeology Team: email: communities@rcahms.gov.uk, telephone: 0131 662 1456

For all enquiries about material in the RCAHMS Collections, including aerial photographs, contact:

email: info@rcahms.gov.uk
phone: 0131 662 1456
RCAHMS website: www.rcahms.gov.uk
address: RCAHMS, John Sinclair House, 16 Bernard Terrace, Edinburgh, EH8 9NX

For information about Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, Adopt-a-Monument, and Scottish Archaeology Month, contact Archaeology Scotland:

email: info@archaeologyscotland.org.uk
phone: 0845 872 3333
Archaeology Scotland website: www.scottisharchaeology.org.uk
address: Archaeology Scotland, Suite 1a, Stuart House, Eskmills, Station Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7PB

© Historic Environment Scotland - Scottish Charity No. SC045925.