Key future directions identified in this document are discussed and listed below as: Collaboration; Training capacity; and Public engagement and outreach.
A collaborative approach has to be considered as a fundamental tenant in Marine and Maritime research, given the nature of the archaeology. Partnership projects, between research institutions and the commercial sector have proven advantageous, for example the ‘Mapping Doggerland’ project (Gaffney, Thompson and Fitch 2007). Any ‘Source to Sea’ approach should consider an ambitious remit, drawing in multiple partners, who fulfil individual roles that contribute to the overall success of the programme. Examples of cross-sector co-operation highlights how essential this approach is, such as the close working relationship with the likes of the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). In both cases the sharing of marine survey and geological data allow for increased opportunities to access and archaeologically assess extensive swathes of seabed not initially targeted for cultural heritage purposes.
The AHRC consider knowledge sharing networks as a fundamental approach to research, through their ‘Knowledge Transfer’ funding stream, which supports collaborative activities between academic and non-academic partners. This is one funding stream that is designed specifically for collaboration and could be applied to a future Marine and Maritime programme of work in Scotland.
6.3.2 Training capacity
Since the closure of the Scottish Institute of Maritime Studies at St Andrew’s University in 2000, there has not been a dedicated university department or institution that has maintained capacity for researchers in Scotland. This is a lamentable state of affairs and one which should be addressed with some urgency. However, there are departments, schools and institutes which are involved with marine and maritime research, within and out with Scotland, which should be considered for capacity building. These include the Scottish Oceans Institute at St Andrews University (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/geosciences/departments/archaeology/the-rising-tide-investigations-into-the-submerged-archaeology-of-orkney-261.php), and the Universities of Nottingham, Southampton and Aberdeen. In addition, the more generic avocational training opportunities through the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) have also undergone a resurgence in Scotland since 2010 and there are now real opportunities for the amateur and professional alike to undertake training from regional centres based throughout Scotland. Scholarships to enable archaeologists (particularly at early career level) to obtain basic diving qualifications would pay rich dividends.
The commercial sector, which is burgeoning in Scotland, is also currently undertaking its own research capacity building, particularly through the increased training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities developed by the Institute for Archaeologists, and current projects such as the Outer Hebrides Coastal Community Marine Archaeology Pilot Project OHCCMAPP (http://blogs.wessexarch.co.uk/ohccmapp/), which reflect the broader European-scale capacity building programmes such as the SPLASHCOS initiative (http://www.splashcos.org/welcome).
Training programmes should be tailored to specific projects, however more often the case is that training takes place during the actual implementation of the project. This is not necessarily a problem, but rather an opportunity, and if recognised as such can be adopted and adapted to future programmes and projects. By including a percentage of time and resource to training within each individual project – a percentage which is stipulated in the overall work programme – a positive outcome can be achieved. Incorporating training within work schedules allows qualified practitioners to mentor trainees and for trainees to undertake tasks in controlled environments with the appropriate supervision.
6.3.3 Community engagement in the marine and maritime historic environment
From a marine and maritime perspective it is important to consider public engagement as community groups are undertaking an increasing amount of research. There are several on-going projects that are engaging community participants in the marine and maritime historic environment. They include the SCAPE Trust Shorewatch initiatives, a national scheme to record eroding archaeological sites, and the recent OHCCMAP feasibility project, which focussed on the Outer Hebrides and community engagement. SCAPE has also conducted site specific community excavations at eroding coastal sites, working in partnerships with commercial organisations and national bodies such as Archaeology Scotland (Unst ; Cruester).
This work has included a significant training element, as well as providing opportunities for the wider community to get involved. For example, art students from a North Uist college visited the SCAPE community excavation at Baile Sear to gain inspiration for their art work.
Other community engagement projects, such as the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme have incorporated coastal archaeology surveys with RCAHMS survey teams and members of ACFA and the local community (http://www.acfabaseline.info/?page_id=76). Survey work conducted between 2002 and 2009 by members of NoSAS and other partners of the coast of Loch Hourn revealed hundreds of previously unrecorded sites (Wombell & Hooper, 2010). These highly-successful partnerships combine community members (aka people), national organisations, non-departmental public bodies, heritage professionals, charitable bodies and local heritage, archaeological and historical societies.
Experiences in these projects are often extremely positive for all participants because often the local community participants are able to inform the professionals about local landscapes/seascapes and the professionals are able to bring technical expertise with broader knowledge of sites, features and archaeological remains. This form of ‘symbiotic knowledge transfer’ (Duffy 2010, vi) is a hugely valuable outcome, potentially beyond the socioeconomic measurables that often represent community engagement projects as statistics.
Community engagement research
During a recent research review, funded by the AHRC, it was recognised that there is a paucity of research into community engagement, with specific reference to the historic environment and almost a complete absence of research into community engagement in the marine and maritime historic environment (Hale 2011). As part of the research a number of recommendations with regard to further community engagement research were proposed, which could be adapted to encompass the marine and maritime historic environment. Three key areas for future directions have been recognised as a result of this research review.
There is a clear need for more appropriately targeted research into the area of engagement with different constituencies of the (marine and maritime) historic environment community, ranging from heritage sector professionals to members of the public. Using the technology available, it is incumbent upon the heritage sector to develop systems that enable it to communicate with, and especially listen to the needs of people who want to engage with the (marine and maritime) historic environment. This could be undertaken in collaboration with researchers and using research data from other aligned disciplines
The creation of effective partnerships, which are process-making rather than being project-focussed, is imperative, in order that the historic environment sector can demonstrate its ongoing relevance in today’s world. Research into how the historic environment sector creates processes and then forms, sustains and undertakes partnerships appears to be minimal.
A recent funding call as part of the AHRC Connected Communities, has begun to address the gap in heritage sector community-engagement research and it is hoped that recent and future applications will include marine and maritime projects.