Wednesday, 10 July 2013

I'm seriously rubbish at keeping on top of this blog...BUT...

The past few months have been rather crazy for me which is why I haven't kept on top of the blog...but things have slowly returned to normal so I shall impart snippets of what I've been getting up to within my post!

Rouken Glen Highland Games

At the end of April, I went to this event with Cara where we were one of many stalls situated around the Highland Games to provide information for anyone who was interested in archaeology and specifically Archaeology Scotland. As you can imagine we had quite a large footfall past our little set up with many youngsters showing an interest in our dig box, clay pot making and quern stone! We didn't even manage to stop for lunch...that's how busy we were. It was great fun and we had huge numbers of participants and a lot of the public signed up to receive further information on archaeology in Scotland...grand day all round then!

My collage of the Rouken Glen Highland Games event...I was demonstrating how to use the quern stone here!

Kilallan Kirkyard

At the start of June I helped Cara run a Kirkyard survey with a local school group of Primary 7's in Renfrewshire. We split the group up into smaller teams so they each had a specific activity to do. So there was recording of the stones via photography and written descriptions; there was sketching of the Kirk and stones; planning of the Kirk and Kirkyard using tape measures and I also took some of the school group into the Kirk to do some grave stone rubbings where it was difficult to read the inscriptions...obviously not on sandstone ones but granite! I asked some of my group if they were enjoying themselves and a fair few of them said it was the best day they'd had in a while, think it was down to the sunshine and the "fancy" camera but a lot of them were actually enthusiastic about their local history, so another great bit of fieldwork in the community!

Kilallan Kirk and Kirkyard

Heritage Heroes

I have recently joined the Learning Team within Archaeology Scotland to help out on one of their new and exciting projects called Heritage Heroes. I have been working closely with Ríona, the project officer for this and the basis of Heritage Heroes is that it is a transitional project from Primary 7 school children who are going into secondary school in August. So myself and Ríona went out to a number of primary schools in South Lanarkshire and delivered a session on what an archaeologist does; we looked at aerial photos asking them to point out features; historical and contemporary maps of their area where they could distinguish differences over time and then we did some practical activities with them. Due to the fact the weather was pretty amazing we did the practical activities in the glorious sunshine! Ríona took a third of the group and worked with them in the dig box, the teacher took the second group and did environmental sorting whilst a led the final group with the Viking Artefact Investigation Kit. We rotated the groups so everyone got to have a go at everything and they were all extremely impressed with their day of archaeology. 

One of my groups working on the Viking Investigation you can see they were all in deep discussion about what they thought their objects were!
We have done this with a number of feeder schools which leads me onto the second half of the project...

Myself and Ríona will be going into the two secondary schools in August and September. Other than their primary peers, we will be 2 familiar faces that have already worked with them on something they enjoyed. We will be doing an archaeological project with them whereby they survey a local castle and cemetery. They will do all the research, the recording, collating of finds and exhibiting their finds with the aim of adding to the archaeological record. This project will tick off many learning outcomes with the Curriculum for Excellence here in Scotland. I am currently in the process of doing some research and creating the activity plan for the survey of the cemetery...all very exciting!

Scoping out Boghall Castle with Ríona

What Next...

Sooo I have been busy as you can see and I am currently working on a Sports Heritage Resource Kit which I hope will fit in with the run up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year. I have a lot of research to do but I am brimming with ideas...I just need to make sure I can get it all done before my placement is up at the end of September. Seriously cannot believe how fast time has gone, it's really scary!

I will be going to Ardnamurchan for a few days to help out with the outreach on the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project. I will hopefully also get a chance to supervise some of the local volunteers who wish to participate in some excavation...YAY for Community Archaeology!

Monday, 11 February 2013

I am back!

Hey hey hey everyone...sorry for the delay in my blog, I have been very tardy with this, for which I apologise profusely!

My last post I discussed the HUGE amounts of paperwork involved behind community archaeology projects...that is still the same, however, I have also been very busy out in the field.

Dighty Connect

Myself and Cara continued to meet up with the school which was part of the Dighty Connect project in Dundee. We met the school group at Finlathen Park Aqueduct and taught them how an archaeologist records features, this was done with a twist though as we asked them to record grafitti. The youngsters set to work by recording size, colour, what the grafitti said, where it was situated, they took photos and used the handheld GPS to record exact co-ordinates of the grafitti. They asked lots of questions and seemed to enjoy themselves which is what archaeology is about. 

A piece of graffiti recorded by the school group (c) Archaeology Scotland

The next session we undertook with them was in the classroom whereby they were telling their own stories of their experiences with the Dighty Burn. We then brought out the investigation kits and asked the youngsters to use their imagination as to what they thought the objects were and to then create a story about that object. Imaginations ran story involving Jedward and the One Direction boys having a chariot race. This was just before Christmas and I felt like I had made a real connection to the kids as they had become more open and trusting of me. They were all so smart with the potential to do anything they put their minds to, it was a pleasure to work with them and their teachers who clearly put in every effort with a school group that struggles to stay focused in the classroom. One of the girls asked me if I thought she could get into forensics as she loved CSI, I told her that she could be a forensic archaeologist as they are the ones who undertake that kind of work these days, she then asked me how she could meet an archaeologist, to which I just pointed at myself! She just smiled and started to ask me all sorts of questions, that to me, was the icing on the cake!!

TAG 2012

TAG is short for the Theoretical Archaeology Group, which is a conference that takes place every year in December. Whilst undertaking my degree I went to several of these conferences as a spectator...not this time! I was asked by Phil and Cara to take part in their session titled; New approaches to archaeological outreach, engagement and ownership. My presentation was to outline the work I had done with the Dighty Connect and to discuss the amazing project I am involved with called Playing the Past. The aim of this outreach project is to get young people involved in archaeology through their love of football. We will be investigating the history of defunct Scottish football teams and their stadiums, the first phase to take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

Cathkin Park, Glasgow. This stadium belonged to Thrird Lanark which we will be investigating as part of the project.

We have a number of project partners linked to the project who are keen to get going with it! My presentation discussed the teams to be investigated; St Bernard's FC in Edinburgh and Third Lanark in Glasgow. I also talked about how we would be working with Football Memories which is a charity that comes under Alzheimer Scotland. The idea behind this is that we will be working with Alzheimer sufferers after having completed standing building surveys of old stadiums, 3D models will then be created from that data. We will ask the individuals suffering from Alzheimers to recall where they sat to watch the football matches of the past, which will hopefully begin a reminiscence of their own stories relating to the team they supported. Such oral histories will be recorded to add to our knowledge and to pass on to younger members of the communities we will be working with. By doing this we hope to create a stronger bond in the community regardless of age, social standing, ethnic background and gender...and to have fun researching a sport loved by many people not just in Scotland, but the world over!  


After the Christmas and New Year holidays the Adopt-a-Monument team went to Ardnamurchan to undertake some survey work for the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project. The team did some geophysical survey, we walked around a number of potential sites and began to plan for the summer season. We also got to meet the local school again who came for a site visit, their teachers were teaching them about Vikings so they were very intrigued by the Viking Boat Burial! Some of the local community are keen to get more involved with the archaeology of Ardnamurchan which the Adopt-a-Monument team are only too happy to facilitate. 

Standing Stone in Ardnamurchan


Soooo as you can see I have had a busy few months, meeting new people, doing my first presentation at a big conference, doing LOTS of paperwork in preparation for our amazing new project and generally having a grand time whilst training in a role I hope to pursue after my bursary has ended. I would urge anyone who is interested in community archaeology to apply for the September/October 2013 round of placements because I am learning so much from the amazing folk at Archaeology Scotland and having fun at the same time.