Things to do during lockdown

03 May 2020

By request - a repeat of the April Newsflash - and later newsflashes with other ideas now in the ARCH website library.

What strange and difficult times! I hope everyone is fine, and surviving lockdown.

All events are clearly cancelled, and many projects put on hold. Now is the time to do some of the tasks you’ve been putting on the backburner until there was more time or explore digital website. Here are some suggestions:

1. Contribute information to the HER

  • Go through your photos of sites and finds and upload the images to the HER if a record already exists. I’ve attached a guide to using the HER. Adding images (and information) is very easy.
    • Search and find the relevant record
    • Scroll down to the bottom, to the Comments and Feedback section.
    • Click on Login, and choose Disqus
    • At the login screen, if this is your first time, click on Need an account? Then fill in the details. You’ll have to verify your details after you get an email. Once you have an account, log on with your email and your password, click on I’m not a robot, and do the silly picture matching if it asks for this. Then click Login
    • Once logged in you’ll see your name at the right. Click into the box which says Start the discussion …You can then type in information, and/or add pictures. To add pictures click on the icon of a picture, second from the left, and then navigate to where it is on your computer
    • Final stage – Click on the box which has Post as [your name]

      Remember that the pictures have to either be out of copyright (75 years after the death of the person who took the picture/made the sketch/wrote the information) or your own.
  • If there is not already a record in the HER, you can either email details and pictures to or send me an email at All new sites must have a grid reference. You can find this in a number of ways. I often use the National Library of Scotland map website (, especially the georeferencing option, since I can move between historic maps and modern aerial views. Send as much information as possible – you can get an idea of the information needed by looking at an existing record. If you don’t know the parish, that’s OK.
  • Check out the HER before you do the daily walk. Are there any sites along the way that need a photo?
  • Don’t have any pictures? There’s a lot of information on the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps on the NLS website, much of which is not on the HER. For example, you could detail where smithies were, where old inns were located, where old curling ponds were, where mills were etc. Many of these items will not be on the HER, but if they are, noting that they appear on the OS maps provides dating evidence. Fortunately the NLS website has a small box on the screen which tells you the grid reference.

2. Listen to some lectures

We can’t go out to talks now, but there are some interesting ones which are online. For example:

3. Catch up on some reading

I know that the libraries are closed, but there is an amazing amount of material available online. For example:


4. Explore some old maps

The National Library of Scotland maps website mentioned above has a wide range of maps to explore, allowing you to zoom in for details. This is seriously addictive! Check out the Pont, Gordon, Blaeu, Moll, Roy, Arrowsmith and Thomson maps for your area. The Lovat Estate maps, digitised by NoSAS, are available in the Estate Maps section. And there are Ordnance Survey maps at lots of scales.

5. Explore some interesting websites

  • The National Library of Scotland Digital Resources include a wealth of materials:
  • Am Baile. There are some interesting materials here, including some newspapers which are indexed, old photos etc.
  • National Collection of Aerial Photography. You can see thumbnails for free, but if some seem of interest, you can subscribe for £24/year and can then zoom in to fine details.
  • National Museums of Scotland – information about their collections in a variety of formats. See
  • The ARCH Experimental Archaeology project has videos, blogs, information sheets and lesson plans to explore.

6. Watch some films

7. Visit a site remotely

Some sites have created virtual tours including Wemyss Caves

8. Go to an online exhibition

9. Browse some on-line museum catalogues to find Highland finds. Many have pictures!

10. For those with children – find some resources and things to do

That should get you started! If you have any other ideas, email me at and I’ll include them in our next newsflash.

Keep safe!


Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
Tel: +44 (0)77888 35466 Email: