About ScARF

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) is designed to be the go to research resource for Scottish archaeology, one which provides an overview of the subject and also a set of useful and relevant research questions for everyone to use.

ScARF is managed by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and grant funded by Historic Environment Scotland as a key part of it’s commitment to Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

The ScARF story to date and aims for the future

The first ScARF national panel reports were published in June 2012. The nine reports (covering seven chronological periods and two overarching themes of Marine & Maritime and Archaeological Science) were the culmination of four years of work by over 350 experts in archaeology and related fields. The result was a snapshot of the current state of thought and knowledge as well as a providing a set of research questions for the future.

Find out more about the early days of ScARF by reading the Chairman’s Introduction

The original full text is free to download as pdf files and available to read online on this website.

ScARF is continually evolving and growing. Driven by a desire for a more strategic approach to the opportunities and challenges presented by Scotland’s carved stones and following a series of workshops to take stock of existing and ongoing research and to identify priorities for future research, the Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland framework created and was published online in 2017.

Published in 2020, The Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures will be the newest addition to ScARF – highlighting Scotland’s importance as a leader of the world-changing industrialisation of the nineteenth century.

The current focus of the ScARF project is to develop new regional research frameworks, which in time will cover Scotland. Each regional research framework will enhance and update the original national framework created in 2012 to eventually build a new picture of the current research priorities across Scotland. By investigating each geographical area in finer resolution they will highlight key regional differences and inform future research priorities for all parts of the sector.

The first of these frameworks to be completed, the Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll was published online and as a PDF in 2017.

Four more regional research frameworks are currently in production, with plans to complete the regional framework project by 2026.

Investigating sites affected by coastal erosion on Benbecula as part of the SIRFA Western Isles Symposium.

As well as our regional projects we also want to keep on reinvigorating and updating the nine original panel reports whenever possible. We are always interested in adding new case studies to showcase research that has taken place since the original panel reports were written. Please get in touch if any of your work relates to the research priorities of the framework and you would like to contribute to updates to our panel reports. Or feel free to add information via the Wiki comments section!

Our new website also now provides a hub, online portal and central resource for disseminating research. We can now host research tools and resources on this site – like the Scottish Grooved Ware Catalogue – look out for new additions to our site in the coming months! This website will develop further over the next year as we work on a new digital platform that will link research frameworks across the UK – enabling better search ability and automatic links between our research questions and reporting of archaeological work through OASIS and Discovery and Excavation in Scotland.

ScARF is also committed to helping in the creation and dissemination of new thematic research frameworks. We can help the process to create new frameworks and ultimately host frameworks and resources which complement the ScARF.

Finally, we also want to continue to encourage research into Scottish archaeology and in particular support new and early career researchers to tackle some of our research questions. As part of this we provide bursaries for students and ECR’s as part of our Student Network. Please get in touch to find out more.

ScARF is a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland project and is currently funded by Historic Environment Scotland

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland   Historic Environment Scotland



Jarlshof prehistoric and Norse settlement, Shetland ©ScARF

“The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework is designed to be the go to research resource for Scottish archaeology”

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