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Volunteer opportunities – Perthshire

May 27, 2008

The Exploring Perthshire’s Past project offers opportunities for the public to take part in hands-on practical activities, including archaeological excavation and field-walking, geophysical survey, site clearance and conservation, and historic building recording. You don’t need to have any previous experience of these activities to volunteer – EPP! will provide training and supervision.

Archaeological excavation

Archaeological excavation involves the uncovering, interpretation and recording of archaeological sites. Excavation is a key way to find out more about how people lived in the past by providing physical evidence for past activities. Today, volunteer opportunities on excavations are uncommon, however through EPP there are a number of chances to get your hands dirty and experience the processes of archaeology for yourself. There are opportunities to take part in the Black Spout homestead, SERF, Roman Gask Project, and MASS

Excavations at Forteviot, SERF
4th – 24th August, Open Day Sunday 17th August, 1030 – 1530
The Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project run by the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow is a long-term programme of excavation and research centred on the village of Forteviot, Perthshire. At Forteviot there is the remarkable combination of an extensive series of prehistoric monuments and the earliest attested evidence for a royal site in Scotland. Excavations this year will be carried out on part of the prehistoric complex of monuments and will also target a variety of sites in the wider landscape, including one of Strathearn’s hillforts. Visitors to the Open Day will be able to see the excavations in progress and will be led on free site tours of the archaeology. There will also be a small display area at the site offices. For volunteer opportunities contact Steven Timoney (see below).

Investigation at Scone, MASS
July, dates tbc
The second annual season of the Moothill and Abbey Survey Scone (MASS) project will take place this July. In 2008 this independent project will continue the successful remote sensing surveys of the Moothill and Abbey, combined with trial excavations to test the important results gathered in 2007. In addition the geophysical survey will be extended into the wider landscape at Scone to get a better understanidng of the place in its early Medieval context. Scone was the place of inauguration of the early kings of Scots and early Christian monastery for centuries before the foundation of the great Augustinian monastery. And yet little survives above ground, and the site has never before been investigated. Visitors to the Open Day (to be advertised on the PKHT website) will be given free tours of the surveys and excavations in progress. This is taking place in the grounds of Scone Palace, and so the normal charge for entry will apply: Adult £4.50; Child £3.00; OAP/Student: £4.00

Historic building recording

Historic building recording involves the detailed study and accurate recording of historic buildings by photography and measured-drawings. This is normally carried out in advance of demolition or prior to conservation works. Detailed study of a building can help to uncover the date and history of the structure, as well as providing a chance to interpret and understand how it has developed over time. There are opportunities to take part in projects with PKHT including Westown Chapel.

Archaeological field-walking

Field-walking involves the organised collection of archaeological objects from the surface of ploughed fields. It can be used to discover new sites or gather information on existing sites. A field is laid out into a grid and systematically checked, with objects found plotted on the grid. This can show patterns of occupation, and when results from many walks are studied together they can help to understand the use of landscapes in the past. There are opportunities to take part in fieldwalking with SERF, and PKHT.

Geophysical survey

Archaeologists use a number of geophysical survey techniques both to map out the detail of known sites, and discover new features. These methods allow for differences in the underlying terrain to be measured and recorded without the need for digging. This can involve detecting the electrical or magnetic properties of features in the ground which contrast greatly with their surroundings. There will be opportunities to take part in projects with MASS in July, and PKHT and Dr Peter Morris in August and September.

Site clearance and management

The clearance of overgrown archaeological sites and historic buildings is commonly carried out in advance of excavation or conservation work. Essential to the longer-term management of many sites is the removal of vegetation which endangers the survival of the site. There are opportunities to take part in site clearance and conservation with PKHT, including Balado Bridge.

Getting Involved

If you are interested in taking part in any of the activities, please contact Steven Timoney Pre-booking is essential for all of these events.


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