What's Your Heritage

Historic Environment Scotland have launched a public survey seeking to find out what heritage means to the people of Scotland as part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.  Find the survey at What's Your Heritage and help inform the discussion on which of Scotland's places, buildings and monuments you want to see recognised and celebrated.

Tiree 2016 Part Two

At the beginning of October a smaller group of eleven members revisited Tiree to carry on recording more of the exciting archaeology we had to reluctantly leave in April. 

The teams working on the slopes of Hynish recorded another 'crop' of potential prehistoric features as well as multiperiod field systems and associated structures. East Hynish remains to be recorded when we return next April.

Thankfully the weather stayed dry and sunny although high winds kept us constant company.  Our accomodation in the cottages at the Hynish Centre was very comfortable and we enjoyed the cross-cultural exchanges after dinner with the group of windsurfers who were staying at the Centre.

Launch of Eaglesham, The Farmlands and The Orry

ACFA is delighted to announce the publication of our first book, Eaglesham, The Farmlands and The Orry , by Susan Hunter.  

Eaglesham bookOver more than twenty years Susan and her husband Robin walked the parish of Eaglesham recording the visible remains of the past in the landscape and producing eighteen detailed archaeological papers.  This fully illustrated book aranges some of the best examples from these papers in chronological order to provide a picture of the folk who inhabited Eaglesham over the past few thousand years, and the type of farming they carried out.

Although principally an archaeology book, this publication also contains a wealth of information gleaned from the farming families of Eaglesham.

Copies are available from Waterstone's, The Avenue, Newton Mearns, through other bookshops by order, from the Eaglesham Gift Company, Eaglesham Village or direct from ACFA.  To buy direct please send £13 plus £4.50 P & P (total £17.50) via PayPal and also send your name and delivery address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


To purchase multiple copies please contact us for information.



Newsletter Number 47

ACFA Newsletter No 47 has been published and has been distributed to members.  The newsletter archive can be accessed by members by logging in to the Members' Area.  

Photography Competition 2016

There was another bumper crop of entries for this year's photography competition, they can all be seen in the Gallery.  First place and winner of the ACFA Quaich was Susan Hunter and her photograph of Swedish rock art, "Hand-to-Hand Combat in Bronze Age Sweden".  Judges awarded second place to Irene Dayer's "St Kilda in July", third place "Glasgow Cathedral Key" by Janie Munro with an honourable mention to Sue Hothersall for her photograph of Whitby Cathedral.  Sue was also the winner of the Members' Vote, a new introduction to this year's competition and voted for by members at the AGM.


Right: Hand-to-Hand Combat in Bronze Age Sweden, Susan Hunter winner of the ACFA Quaich

Annual General Meeting 2016

Members met on Saturday October 15 for the Annual General Meeting and lunch.  Chairperson Dugie MacInnes presented a annual report which demonstrated that ACFA members have had an exceedingly busy year taking part in surveys and excavations from the Clyde Valley to the island of Tiree. There were no changes to the committee this year and thanks were expressed to everyone who had contributed to such a successful year.

After the formal meeting Dr Tertia Barnett from Edinburgh University spoke to members about the Scottish Rock Art Project which aspires to reassess and create a database of the wealth of rock art in Scotland. She invited ACFA to take part in the project.

The guest speaker after lunch was Dr Paul Murtagh from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.  A number of ACFA members have already worked on surveys for the project. After an introduction to the background of the project Dr Murtagh gave a presentation about the history and archaeology of the orchards of the Clyde Valley which are the next focus for CAVLP.  Volunteers are sought for this project and more details of survey dates will be announced in due course.

Left: Members survey a house site at Balephetrish, Tiree Photo A Blackwood

Photogrammetry at the Church of The Three Brethren, Lochgoilhead

During Acfa’s week on Tiree in April, many present were privileged to experience a demonstration and a presentation of a photogrammetric and acoustic study of a ‘Ringing Stone’ near  Vaul, by Dr Stuart Jeffrey of the Digital Design Studio at Glasgow School of Art.

Photogrammetry and RTI (Reflective Transformation Imaging) as possible tools for enhancing publication quality and understanding of sites and structures has interested some of us for a number of years. They allow astonishing 3D manipulatable and enhanced images of structures and sites.

One of Dr Jeffrey’s Masters students, Rachel McCrae contacted us to enquire if there was any interest in assisting her with a study of three of the Ogham inscriptions and Dugie and I seized the opportunity to join her at the Church of the Three Brethren at Lochgoilhead on the 14th June for a photogrammetry exercise.

The church, unknown to us both, is a gem of interest, with a magnificent Late Renaissance door formerly accessing the mausoleum of the Campbells of Ardkinglass

It also has a number of enigmatic sculptured fragments hinting at earlier medieval phases at the site, including an arresting monolith of bewildering symbols and motifs and a block of sandstone, with eight crudely carved random letters of the roman alphabet on the front face and an undeciphered ogham inscription along the edge.

Thanks to the consent and assistance of the congregation and the local church warden, we were granted access to some happy hours of recording and studying this fragment.

Libby and Margaret are meeting with Rachel at Perth Museum on Friday, to pursue this research on the Inchyra Stone ogham.

This technology is now widely available with free software downloads and is used and employed by both professional and amateur groups – Dugie and I are talking of trying it out on such sites as the rock art in Glenlochay and perhaps an over ambitious assault on the Auld Wives Lifts on Craigmaddy Moor.  Ian Marshall

More photographs can be seen in the Gallery section.


Launch of Historic Environment Scotland Corporate Plan

The new body representing Scotland's historic environment formed form the amalgamation of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments, Historic Environment Scotland, has marked a significant milestone with the publication of their first corporate plan.  The plan and full information about HES can be found at their new website.


Tiree Project

At the end of April a group of ACFA members travelled to Tiree to spend a week on a new project inspired by research carried out on the island by local doctor John Holliday.  The intention was to look for settlement evidence from the Norse and Medieval periods.  With the enthusiastic involvement of a number of locals a large number of surveys were carried out, despite losing a day to snow, such an unusual occurance that Tiree airport had had its snow plough removed some years ago. 

More information about the results of the survey can be found in the Survey section.

2016 Photography Competition Launched

This year's annual photography competition has been launched and organiser Sue Bryson is urging all ACFA members to get involved.  Got any interesting photos from the recent Tiree trip or planning a visit to an archaeological site over the summer?  Remember to pack you camera and keep the competition in mind.  Full details can be found in the Members' Area.