Time Travelling Tourism

Dig It! 2015 Join the Celebrations!
Ever wanted to be an archaeologist? Now’s your chance! Dig It! 2015 is a year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology and we’re encouraging everyone to get muddy and discover Scotland’s stories. Co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland, these celebrations are proving that archaeology really is for everyone by creating a programme of hundreds of activities, from ‘traditional’ outdoor digs and museum exhibitions, to more unexpected events, such as theatre performances, music festivals and whisky tours.

Why Dig It?
Thirl stanes in Heathdale/ Woodmuir Forest near Wilsontown/Breich.  Archaeologists, Forestry staff and volunteers who are uncovering stones that date back to 1855. The stones have carved initials of couples who were soon to be wed all of those years ago! The project is in partnership with Dig It! 2015 and Forestry Commission. Lead archaeologist Peta Glew.If archaeology isn’t on your holiday itinerary, then you’re missing out! By joining a dig, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people, learn about the local area, wander off the beaten track (literally), enjoy fresh air, get a bit of exercise and access all of the beautiful locations which have been left out of your guidebook. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s worth noting that many of these digs are free or relatively inexpensive. At the end of the day, whether you’ve uncovered an ancient artefact or simply made some new friends, you’re guaranteed to walk away with a fantastic story to tell.

How to Join a Dig in Scotland
Never been on a dig before? Not a problem! Many excavations are open to the public and are happy to provide training on the day. If you’ve got some budding archaeologists to entertain, digs can be a great option for kids. Don’t fancy digging? There are often opportunities for field-walking, metal detecting, recording, identification and cataloguing of artefacts, and geophysical surveying. Many excavations also offer guided tours, so you’ll have the chance to see some archaeology in action. Some digs require you to book in advance, but you are welcome to show up on the day for others. A quick online search, phone call or visit to the Dig It! 2015 website will provide you with all of the details.

CromartyThe Cromarty Medieval Burgh Community Archaeology Project near Inverness, for example, runs a programme of events, training and excavation each July. The Ness of Brodgar, featured on the cover of National Geographic in 2014, also runs free guided tours each summer. The Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project in Perthshire also encourages volunteers to get hands on with history throughout the summer. The Newbarns Project in Dumfries and Galloway invites volunteers from all walks of life to participate, whether it’s for a day or a week, just for the experience or for the fun of it. The list is endless, so take a look, jump in and don’t be shy!

Find a Festival
Archaeology and heritage festivals are packed with events and activities for people of all ages and interests. Archaeology Scotland’s Scottish Archaeology and Heritage Festival (5 to 22 September 2015), is the biggest annual one, with hundreds of events taking place all over Scotland. There are also a variety of exciting local festivals, which are open to everyone. If you’d like to enjoy tours, activities, re-enactments, fairs and more, take part in the East Lothian Archaeology and Local History Festival (29 August to 15 September), Borders Heritage Festival (5 to 30 September), or Highland Archaeology Festival (1 to 18 October) . Previously… Scotland’s History Festival (8 to 22 November), based in Edinburgh, also showcases Scotland’s exciting heritage each year. If you’re more interested in Romans or Vikings, you won’t want to miss the Largs Viking Festival (19 August to 6 September) or Big Roman Week (19 to 27 September) in Falkirk. Dig It! 2015 has also teamed up with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival for Dig Where You Stand (1 September to 30 November), which will encourage everyone to unearth a treasure-trove of stories and legends in their community or local area.

Archaeology and…
Sculpture _ ShutterstockDig It! 2015 is all about trying new things, which means that our programmes are packed with everything from music and Minecraft to crafts and cooking. If you’re travelling with a large group, you’re guaranteed to find something for everyone. Historical Land Rover Safaris in Glencoe, artistic Viking Trade Trails in the Western Isles, an Iron Age Gourmet Day in Perthshire, World War One poetry in Angus, gaming workshops on Orkney and a Roman Flashmob in East Dunbartonshire are just some of the exciting events on offer. Dig It! 2015 is also working with Forestry Commission Scotland to run Dig Art! 2015 over the summer. This archaeology, art and photography competition is open to everyone, so make sure to bring your camera along.

Time Travelling Tourism
If you’re on the hunt for stunning scenery and amazing stories, archaeological sites in Scotland should be your first stop. Orkney, for example, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, and the Standing Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe chambered tomb will not disappoint. If you’re staying in Aberdeenshire, you’ll have to hunt down a few of their mysterious Recumbent Stone Circles, which have been associated with burial, death and rituals. Kilmartin Glen, in Argyll and Bute, also has one of the richest concentrations of prehistoric monuments and historical sites in Scotland. If you’ve already booked your accommodation, the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland’s websites are a great way to search for nearby stone circles, forts, castles, brochs, cairns and even prehistoric villages. Another option is to simply keep your eyes open. Remnants of the past, from ancient cists to long-lost pathways, are scattered throughout Scotland in cities, fields, hiking trails and forests.

Ready to indulge your inner archaeologist? If you’d like find a dig or event near your accommodation, or learn more about Dig It! 2015, please visit www.digit2015.com


Image credits: Stuart Vance, Cromarty Medieval Burgh Community Archaeology Project, The Scottish Crannog Centre, Shutterstock


Leave a comment