Case Study 3: Heritage Management

Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland

Forest Enterprise Scotland is the agency of Forestry Commission Scotland charged with managing the National Forest Estate. We are committed to undertaking conservation management, condition monitoring and archaeological recording at our significant historic assets; and to helping to develop, share and promote best-practice historic environment conservation management. We are proud to support Our Place in Time: the historic environment strategy for Scotland and Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy; and often seek to contribute to the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework. By caring for and protecting the historic environment we can both enjoy and benefit from it today – and conserve and enhance it for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.

By investigating and recording the historic environment on Scotland’s National Forest Estate we aim to continually develop our knowledge, understanding and interpretation of our past and how best to conserve, sustain and present it. Recent archaeological measured survey has included the high resolution terrestrial laser scanning of the Neolithic rock art of Ormaig (CANMORE ID 22860) (Figure 7); and the survey and visualisation of a number of Neolithic chambered tombs, several Iron Age duns and several Bronze Age stone rows on Mull.

Figure 7: The Neolithic rock art at Ormaig was surveyed by high resolution terrestrial laser scanning in 2014 © FCS by AOC Archaeology 2014

Archaeology is a very visual activity and almost always involves photography, measured survey and informed illustration. Good archaeological visualisation helps to consolidate understanding by encouraging the active participation of the audience. It supports effective archaeological analysis and can greatly enhance the historic environment record. By blending integrated archaeological measured survey with an aesthetic illustrative ethos we can achieve both objective measured record and subjective interpretation. The archaeological measured survey of the Neolithic long cairn of Gort na h’Ulaidhe (CANMORE ID 38777) in Kintyre in advance of a new Land Management Plan is a great example of this.

Planning sustainable conservation management can include scrub control, erosion repair, masonry consolidation, public interpretation and path construction, sensitive grazing regimes and archaeological evaluation and record. Recent conservation management has included path repair at the Iron Age dun of Castle Dounie (Canmore ID 39164) above Crinan; tree removal (to enhance setting) and moss and lichen control at the Neolithic rock art of Ormaig (Canmore ID 22860); and tree removal and scrub control at the early Christian site of Rubha na Fidhle (Canmore ID 23138) (Figure 8) on Loch Awe.

Figure 8: Rubha na Fidhle on Loch Awe following difficult tree removal in 2015 ©FCS 2015

The approach to Castle Dounie (Canmore ID 39164) is now well-defined and extremely durable and the natural stone steps are in keeping with the aesthetic historic character of the site. The detailed measured survey, responsive archaeological evaluation and specialist path work has enabled enhanced access provision at a significant prehistoric monument. Each element of the project has been undertaken with considerable skill and expertise; together they have resulted in a project showcasing best practice in regard to access provision at an important upland archaeological site.

It is only by sharing and celebrating the richness and significance of our historic environment that we are able to enjoy the fascinating and inspirational diversity of our heritage.

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