Highland Regional ScARF

The ScARF project (Scottish Archaeology Research Framework) assessed what the current state of archaeology in Scotland was in the early 2010s, looking at what we know, where we have gaps in the knowledge and suggesting research areas for future work. This has been set up as a wiki-based publication on the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website.

The Scottish Archaeology Strategy recommended that this be extended to focus on regions, recognising that many regional differences are not catered for in the national ScARF. ARCH will be leading a 3 year project looking at Highland archaeology from earliest settlers through to 20th century, with funding from Historic Environment Scotland and support from Highland Council.

The focus is fairly simple but ambitious and exciting: assessing what the state of knowledge is at the moment, how we differ from national ScARF, what regional differences exist within the Highlands, and suggesting research areas for future work. At the end we will have a valuable snapshot of Highland archaeology, which can be compared to the national picture, and also added to. The structure will mirror that of national ScARF to allow comparisons.

We started with a symposium on 2nd / 3rd June 2018 at Council Headquarters in Inverness where an impressive lineup of speakers provided a brief overview of what is known at present and what we need to know. The programme is available from the Library, in the Highland Regional ScARF folder.

We are now starting the work to flesh out this picture and are actively inviting contributions, large and small. Our first year will be devoted to trying to get our data as full and accurate as possible. We are building on the Highland Historic Environment Record (HER), Highland Council's database of all known heritage, which will in turn link to Scottish Canmore.  Grace Woolmer has been appointed Project Officer, and is based at the Council. She has been investigating various sources and is adding and revising records in the HER.

Can you help?

The aim to be as inclusive as possible, drawing in work and thoughts from council archaeologists, academics, museums, community groups, educational groups like the U3A and WEA, commercial units and individuals. Is there a topic, site or find which holds special interest to you or a group you are part of? We’re looking for case studies, dissertations, research and photographs. So if you have any research to contribute, ideas of areas to explore, or can let us know of work we should know about, do get in touch with Susan or Grace.  ARCH's previous project, Community Timelines, showed how much information and research local communities can contribute. A cover sheet for larger contributions is available in the Library on the website in the Highland Regional ScARF folder - or just send us an email.

Museums and Finds

One of the areas we know we need more information about is on Highland finds. Often these are the only information of activity in the past. A questionnaire for museums is being circulated and is also available from the Library on the website. We want to know what objects each museum feels are important. We also are asking for details on a number of provenanced key types of objects so that we can create distribution maps. There are opportunities to help local museums gather this information. Contact us if you are interested.

At the end of three years, the Highland Regional ScARF will be available from the National ScARF website. Watch this space for further updates!

Susan Kruse  info@archhighland.org.uk
Grace Woolmer  grace.woolmer@highland.gov.uk




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Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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