Rona 2014

In one of the best weeks enjoyed so far this spring, a team of nine returned to Rona, to complete the survey of the final township of Doire na Guaile in the far south of the island. As this involved a walk – in of almost an hour each day, it was planned that work and recovery days would be spaced out, and believed that with about 40 structures to plan at 1:100, we would we looking at a two year programme.

In the event, the unparalleled weather and the enthusiasm of the teams meant that the whole settlement was planned in three days, and some teams even returned for a fourth to extend the survey to a neighbouring tidal islet, and to survey some newer settlement revealed during the walks in.

Libby King, Margaret Gardiner and Ian Marshall were co-directors, Dr Heather James as photographer and ‘boldly – goer’, Richard Anderson, Sue Hothersall, Stuart McKey, Dugie and Anne McInnes. With the free days, parties returned to Braigh and the north tip of the island – and highlights of the social calendar included the annual baited creel competition, the best in show creel, local stone and ropework display competition (won by Skyescape Cottage by not telling anyone there was a competition) and an epic croquet game with no rules barred tournament.

Good company and five days of glorious spring sun have encouraged discussion on a final return to mop up and eliminate some of the remoter bays and islets, as well as the environs of Acairseid Mhor next year.

Introduction to Archaeological Field Survey

Another group of would-be field archaeologists took part in this year's weekend field survey course in association with Glasgow University's Centre for Open Studies.  Held on Saturday and Sunday of the May holiday weekend the weather wasn't as kind as last year but nothing dampened the group's enthusiasm.

After a classroom-based introduction the group embarked on a guided walk round the archaeological highlights of Pollok Park including a never previously surveyed enigmatic stone garden feature.  On the Sunday three survey teams were formed, each under the supervision of an ACFA tutor, and set to work getting to grips with the skills of surveying and drawing.  The teams proved that they had 'the right stuff' by working through torrential rain until they had completed their drawings.  

Proposed day trip to SERF Excavations

A day visit to the SERF excavations at Forteviot has been proposed for either the 27th or 28th June. More details can be found in the Members' Area.

Scotland's Historic Environment

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, has announced the establishment of a Strategic Forum for Scotland's Historic Environment which will facilitate the closer working of heritage organisations and other bodies to ensure Scotland's historic environment is understood, valued, cared for, protected and enhanced. 

Historic Environment Scotland is the name of the new lead public body to be formed from the merger of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS. Information on the strategy can be found here .

Stage 1 of the Bill and the report will be debated in the Parliament on the afternoon of Thursday June 19 following which, if Parliament agrees, the Bill will proceed to Stage 2 where amendments can be proposed.  This stage is expected to begin in mid August. Any MSP, or preferably a member of the Education and Culture Committee, can be approached to propose an amendment.  Information on the Bill and report can be found here and here.

ACFA contributed to the original consultation (available in the Members' Area) but if any member has comments on the report or would like to suggest amendments to the  Bill as described above please contact the committee.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Rouken Glen Update

Following the recent launch of Dig It! 2015 and the Rouken Glen Project, an assessment was made of the site of the Rouken Mill. The remains proved to be more substantial than first thought although the site is quite precarious and threatened by saplings and encroaching shrubbery. Photographs of the site have been posted in the gallery. The mill is possibly the oldest structure in the park, being associated with the original Rouken settlement first noted on the Pont map.  Following sensitive clearance of the site, to be arranged by the park rangers, it is proposed to survey the mill and its surroundings which include two possible small associated structures and extensive rig and furrow.  Thanks to Ian Marshall for photographs.

Rouken Glen Project and Launch of Dig It! 2015

ACFA had a strong presence at the launch of Dig It! 2015, the year of Scottish Archaeology, on Saturday March 15 at Rouken Glen Park.  Our stall attracted a lot of interest and committee members and other ACFA members had a great opportunity to network with a wide range of Scottish archaeology groups as well as talking to members of the public about our work. Highlights of the day included demonstrations of kite aerial photography and a medieval re-enactment group.

ACFA members led a walk-over of the archaeology of the park followed in the afternoon by a training session introducing a group of volunteers to the joy of field survey which was an authentic ACFA experience conducted in the teeth of a howling gale and threatening rain.  On Sunday Ian Marshall, Susan Hunter and Janie Munro returned to the park to 'reccie' sites for future surveying as part of the Rouken Glen Adopt-a-Monument project.

Proposed Trip to Tiree May 2015

A new field trip is being considered for September to the island of Tiree. Archaeology on Tiree includes Dun Mor Vaul, duns, standing stones and a stone circle, medieval chapel ruins and cross stones, kelp and corn kilns, and accommodation will be in the Category A listed lighthouse establishment built for the construction and servicing of Skerryvore lighthouse. This trip is only open to members and associate members, and full details can be found in the Members' Area.

Our Place in Time - Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland

 

Last year ACFA took part in the public consultation on the draft Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland and the Outline Business case for the merger between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS.  Our written submission can be found in the Members' Area.

The new strategy that emerged from the consultations and further discussions has just been published.  The intention is to ensure that Scotland's Historic Environment is cared for, valued and protected in a sustainable way.  The strategy can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/03/8522 .

The Historic Environment Bill to create a new Non-Departmental Public Body, Historic Environment Scotland, has been laid before the Scottish Parliament and can be found at www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/73219.aspx .

Rouken Glen New Project

ACFA members are taking part in a new archaeology project based in Rouken Glen Park on the southside of Glasgow. The project will kick off with a training weekend for community volunteers on March 15 and 16. A group of ACFA members will help tutor the volunteers in learning to recognise features in the landscape with a guided walk-over of the park and continuing with an introduction to surveying. 

The Saturday will also see the launch of Dig It Archaeology Year 2015.

Spring Glen Lochay Dates

Glen Lochay survey dates for March to June have been announced.  They are:  March 23, March 30, April 6, April 13, May 4, and May 11.  All dates are Sundays.  A camping weekend is also planned.  More details can be found in the Members' Area.