ScARF Summer Update

Packed full of updates on the on-going Regional Research Frameworks, exciting new and forthcoming publications, and the results of our recent ScARF Diversity Survey – our summer update e-newsletter has been mailed out to all our subscribers! If you haven’t got a copy, take a look here.

If you haven’t signed up to our newsletter yet – why not do so here to automatically get the latest ScARF news!

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New Case Study – Scotland’s Rock Art Project (ScRAP) in Argyll and Bute

Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll – New Case Study!

Since 2017, Scotland’s Rock Art Project (ScRAP) has been collaborating with communities across the country to enhance our understanding and sense of value of prehistoric carvings. ScRAP is a five year programme to record, research and raise awareness of prehistoric rock carvings across Scotland. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the project is run by Historic Environment Scotland in collaboration with Edinburgh University and Glasgow School of Art.

Elaborate cup and ring motifs on a rock outcrop at Cairnbaan, Kilmartin ©ScRAP and HES

With around 700 carved rocks in the area – did you know Argyll and Bute is home to almost 20% of all known rock art in Scotland?

Working with ScRAP, community teams and archaeology undergraduate students have recorded over half of all the rock art in the region in detail – including more than 70% of that in the Kilmartin area!

ScRAP’s Strachur Rock Art Team recording a cupmarked stone in Glenadruel, Cowal ©ScRAP and HES

Find out more about the work of the project in Argyll and Bute here!

You can find out more about the project and search the rock art database on the ScRAP website. You can also view 3D models of Scotland’s rock art on the Sketchfab accounts for ScRAP and the Community Team Rock Art Teams

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COVID-19 Student Bursaries

Our ScARF student bursaries are normally only available to help travel and attendance at conferences or workshops. However, in light of COVID-19 and the unlikelihood that there will be many conferences and networking events taking place for the foreseeable future, we are keen to support Student/ECR research into Scottish archaeology in other ways.

We are therefore pleased to offer a small number of bursaries to help support wider student and ECR research activities in the coming months. 

A group of people on a hill side standing around a stone pit listening to an archaeologist talk about the site
ScARF supported students were amongst the SIRFA symposium delegates visiting the Neolithic Axe Factories at North Roe, Shetland ©ScARF

We are initially asking for applications for financial support where COVID-19 has affected student and ECR research plans and there may be additional costs which cannot be covered in another way. For example, we could help fund extra costs for access to research material and digital resources, or maybe cover costs where new software or online training is required. Please get in touch with us to discuss your application and to see if your project would be suitable. The main criteria is that the research being undertaken should be into some aspect of Scottish archaeology. We will consider retrospective applications – i.e. where the cost has already been incurred – but we will require receipts/proof of the additional expense. The maximum that can be applied for is £200. 

To apply please send us an email with a short summary of your research, how COVID-19 has affected it and a clear breakdown of the costs involved (c. 300 words), along with a short letter written by a referee to support your application.

Find out about how other students have benefited from our ScARF bursaries by visiting our Student Report pages.

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Summer Newsletter

Our summer newsletter should have hit everyone’s inboxes! If you haven’t got a copy then take a look here.

If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet – why not do so here to automatically get the latest ScARF news!

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Scottish Network for 19th Century European Cultures – New Framework

We are delighted to announce the launch of the Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures Framework – now hosted by the ScARF website.

Scotland was a leader of the world-changing industrialisation of the nineteenth century and a world-beating exporter of romantic nationalism—through the writings of Macpherson, Burns, and Scott—and scientific ideas and innovation. And yet, besides shipbuilding, textiles, mining and transport, the cultural significance of Scotland’s past could be easily taken for granted.

This framework was created as a result of a series of workshops funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, which focused on exploring the inter-connectivity of people and culture in Scotland and Europe during the long nineteenth century – it critically assesses Scotland’s connections with European countries in the long nineteenth century. Taking a broad multidisciplinary approach and drawing on a range of contexts and methods­—such as literary criticism, cultural history, philosophy, science, technology and health history—the framework is built around several themes. The themes were designed in a way that brought together expertise on texts, material objects, and peoples that illuminated cultural practice in relation to local and global contexts.

Strong cross-cultural links are explored to highlight the importance of Scottish contributions to nineteenth-century culture

The Framework’s structure is designed to draw out a holistic understanding of the value and significance of Scotland’s relationships with European ‘nations-in-the-making’ in the long nineteenth century and enable us to reflect on what this knowledge then offers us for now. This emphasis on value provides the best hope of making a difference for the future. To this end, the Framework identifies research principles, problems, practices, and ideas for projects, some enhancing existing initiatives and others suggesting new directions.

Check out the Scottish Network for Nineteenth-Century European Cultures framework here!

This project was funded by the RSE and supported by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

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Welcome to Our New Website!

We are really excited to launch our new ScARF website.

While you will find that the basic structure and the original content remains very familiar – so using the frameworks will not be too different to before – we can now do so much more! We will be adding new pages and content regularly including extra case studies, blogs and we can also now host additional research resources. This site will become the gateway to all our new Regional Research Frameworks as they are launched.

The new ScARF website is easier to navigate – with eye-catching landing pages, more links to current projects, relevant internal content and Case Studies, and improved imagery to showcase Scotland’s archaeological research!

This is just the start and we have lots of plans to improve the website over the coming year. In time, we will have an improved search facility that will enable you to search not just the ScARF National, thematic and regional frameworks – but also archaeological frameworks from across the UK! We are also working on new technology behind the scenes which will link our ScARF website to OASIS and Discovery and Excavation in Scotland reports – so as new discoveries are made, some research questions answered and new questions posed, our resource can be updated.

The new ScARF website will be regularly refreshed with blog posts, keeping you updated on the latest ScARF news, exciting new Case Studies and projects, and the progress of the Regional Archaeological Research Frameworks – see some images from the latest SIRFA symposium in Shetland above!

Get involved…

Please get in touch if you have any thoughts and comments about our new site. We would also love to receive ideas for new Case Studies that help to answer the research questions posed in our frameworks. If you would like to submit one to add to our research frameworks please let us know – there is so much amazing work to share and we now have the tools to do it!

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Bone Identification Workshop – New Video!

Our ‘Introduction to Zooarchaeology and Osteoarchaeology workshop took place at Inverness Museum on the 27th January 2020. It was a fantastic start to the year to learn new skills with experts and a diverse group of participants including heritage and museum professionals, archaeologists, local archaeology society members, and students. It was an informative day enjoyed by all!

Watch the short video below for a summary of the day

Find out more about this workshop here.


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Prehistoric Pottery Identification Workshop

Booking now open!

The next ScARF skills workshop will take place on the 21st February 2019 at Inverness Museum. This will be a prehistoric pottery identification workshop delivered by Beverley Ballin Smith. See the advert below for more details- if you would like to book a place or find out more, please email

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ScARF News – January 2019

Happy New Year from ScARF!

We are looking forward to a really busy 2020 working on our research framework projects and launching our exciting new website.

The Callanish stone circle on Lewis (c) Getty Images

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in our Evaluation in 2019 by filling in our questionnaire or being interviewed. This has been really useful to understand better what ScARF does well and where we can improve so we can plan for the future.

ScARF is a widely used resource across the sector for developing project proposals, planning archaeology, funding applications and professional development. Our particular strength continues to be the high quality of the content (98.5% rated the content as good/excellent) with one respondent calling it the ‘envy of other countries’.

Areas highlighted for improvement include enhancing the usability of the website for accessing, searching and contributing new data, continuing to ensure the consistent high quality of new data and research, creating clearer research questions and communicating much better about the overall research framework project across the sector.

If you would like a copy of the evaluation report please get in touch and we can share a more detailed summary with you.

PKARF – Update and New Digital Resources!

Following the conference of preparatory talks and constructive workshop discussions in August last year, PKARF is now progressing with the review phase of its project. Throughout this phase, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust are welcoming involvement from community members, professionals, academics and students alike to help build an inclusive and relevant Framework. As part of this, a panel of 12 experts has been formed to take forward the Environmental and Archaeological Science aspects. More broadly, the contributions received have highlighted the importance of rivers and lochs, especially the Tay, as conduits for movement, as well as the great potential of the region’s contrasting upland/lowland topography for studying settlement patterns over time.

Contributions are currently being reviewed and developed into draft chapters which it is hoped will be available for consultation and comment in early Spring. Anyone interested in nominating content for the drafts or wishing to join the discussion by reviewing consultation documents are encouraged to get in touch.

More details can be found on the PKARF project page where you’ll also find new digital resources from the conference to get you thinking – plus an online comments form to feed-in your ideas!

ScARF Museum Skills Workshops

ScARF skills workshops are a series of FREE to attend one-day training opportunities open to everyone. Our first skills workshop of 2020 offers an intoduction to zooarchaeology, osteoarchaeology and scientific techniques – providing participants with basic bone ID, handling and recording skills, and an update of how current scientific methods are revolutionising what we know about the lives of past people! This workshop was fully booked extremely quickly, but there will be more.. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates!

ScARF- A Resource for Everyone

Share with us! Do you have some exciting research or projects you would like to share? We’d love to hear any ideas for new case studies, contributions and future features.

January e-newsletter

Our January e-newsletter has just been sent out to all our subscribers. Take a look at it here.

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ScARF News – December 2019

A Busy 2019 Conference Season!

2019 was a busy year for the ScARF team as we travelled the length of Scotland to attend archaeological conferences- from the Edinburgh Lothians and Borders conference all the way up to the SIRFA symposium in Shetland, and lots of events in between!

A busy year was had by the on-going regional research frameworks with symposiums, conferences and workshops. It was great to hear diverse voices from across the heritage sector, students, community heritage groups and members of the public come together to discuss future priorities for archaeological research in Scotland. Following the success of these events, we are very excited to see what 2020 brings as the Highlands (HighARF), Perth and Kinross (PKARF), South East Scotland (SESARF), and the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland (SIRFA) regional research frameworks continue to collate data and review input from these events to establish research priorities and create the frameworks.

ScARF display at the Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders Conference. © ScARF

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to pop over to our table to come and say hi, to find out more about the ScARF Project and the work of the Society of Antiquaries, and take away some freebies!

Date for your diary 2020

The Scottish Student Archaeology Society Conference 2020 will be hosted on the 15th-16th February by the Glasgow University Archaeology Society in the Debates Chamber of the Glasgow University Union on University Avenue. The conference will bring together students and early career researchers to discuss the latest research in Scottish Archaeology. Themes include- Prehistory: Landscapes, practices and life-ways; Roman to Medieval: Empires, Chiefdom and Kingdom; and Post-Medieval to Contemporary: Developing modern Scotland.

Tickets are £10 and will be available from the online ticket platform. If you are interested in attending, presenting a paper or poster session- more info can be found on the SSAC 2020 website.

Celebrating Archaeology in Scotland 2019

Have you picked up your copy of the new Celebrating Archaeology in Scotland 2019 magazine? If you haven’t, fear not..! It is available to view online. This visual feast contains lots of interesting articles and features celebrating recent archaeological work in Scotland- reporting on the delivery of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

ScARF feature in the ‘Celebrating Archaeology in Scotland 2019’ magazine. © ScARF

The magazine features the work that we at ScARF and of our colleagues at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland have been doing in our role as the lead body responsible for delivering Aim 2 of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy- Enhancing Understanding.

ScARF- A Resource for Everyone

Get involved with the new website, we’d love to hear your ideas and views!!

In addition to being the go-to place for the national, regional and thematic research frameworks, we envisage the new website as being a current, exciting, and dynamic platform to showcase all aspects of Scottish Archaeology.

ScARF fits into the wider vision of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy – to make archaeology matter for everyone. We’d love the new website to be the ideal platform for everyone to get involved – from academics, commercial units and museum staff to students, school teachers, community groups, and well… anyone with an interest in history and archaeology!

Share with us! Do you have some exciting research or projects you would like to share? We’d love to hear any ideas for new case studies, contributions and future features.

Merry Christmas from Helen & Leanne

A big Thank You to everyone who has supported or taken part in the ScARF project this year. 2020 is already shaping up to be exciting with the launch of the new website, on-going work with the regional frameworks, and new museum workshops- Watch this space!

Wishing you a wonderful festive season filled with joy, happiness, and archaeology!

December e-newsletter

Our December newsletter has just been sent out to all our subscribers. Take a look at it here for all the latest ScARF news.

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