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.

SCHARP Conference

Volunteers who took an interest in the Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk Project are being invited to attend a conference in St Andrews to showcase the range and quality of work that volunteers have undertaken across Scotland as part of the project.  The conference is to be held on weekend of the 18th and 19th of June and is also intended as an opportunity for volunteers to meet and learn about the work that has been carried out.  Full details of the conference can  be found here .

Langbank Crannogs Survey

Weather finally being favourable the second trip planned to survey and check on the condition of crannogs in the Clyde went ahead last week.

Acfa had been approached late last autumn by Scotland's Coastal at Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP) with a request to take a look at how erosion was affecting crannogs along the shores of the Clyde.  A group led by Ian Marshall investigated the well-known site of Dumbuck in November but bad weather had delayed a visit to the Langbank crannogs on the south side of the river.

After lunch in the nearby Wheelhouse, and at low tide two groups set off, again under Ian Marshall's direction, to survey the sites of Langbank East and West.  It was a bright clear afternoon and the condition of the sites were soon updated for the SCHARP database and website.  Along the way a relic of the Whysman Festival from 2012, celebrating the life and work of the late Greenock artist George Wyllie, was discovered. One of a series referencing George's trademark question marks installed along the Clyde by Alec Galloway, the deteriorating artwork was left to take its place amongst the archaeology of the river.


Online Courses to Add to Your Skill Set

Two new free online courses are starting on February 1st of interest to archaeologists, one, Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime, draws from archaeology, criminology, art history and law covering cutting-edge research into art's seedy underworld.  The other, Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology, will teach how maritime archaeology investigates our changing relationship with the oceans and seas, from 2.5m years ago until today.

Links to both courses can also be found in the Events section at the top right of the home page.

Photographic Competition 2015

This year's competition attracted a large number of entries covering a wide archaeological range both geographically and by period. First prize, and winner of the ACFA Memorial Quaich, went to Janie Munro for Demolition of St Oswald's School Glasgow, Archaeology of the future, second was Dugie MacInnes with Monarch of the Glen, and third was Fred Hay and Asparas (Heavenly) Dancers at Angkor Watt Cambodia. Other entries can be viewed in the Gallery section.





New Survey Starts in Kilsyth Hills

On a bright sunny November Sunday a group of ACFA members set off to start a new survey in the hills behind Kilsyth.  Further information can be found in the survey section.

New look for AGM

Members gathered for a new style annual general meeting, a lunchtime event at a new venue, Glasgow Council for Voluntary Service's Albany Centre, with a new caterer.  The changes were met with approval from members who deemed them a success.

Chairperson, Dugie MacInnes, welcomed members and reported on a busy ACFA year with a number of surveys and participation in archaeological activities in co-operation with other organisations.

Dugie presented winner of the photography competition, Janie Munro, with the ACFA Memorial Quaich.