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Funding to protect Scots landmarks

Scots historians have been awarded £100,000 to help local communities prevent Scotland’s most prized historical landmarks from crumbling into the sea.

A three-year £75,400 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will meet the costs of a project officer to work with volunteers to record and monitor archaeological sites along the entire Scottish coast. The HLF funding will be combined with £25,000 from Historic Scotland.

The sSea Project (Safeguarding Scotland’s Eroding Archaeology), led by Professor T C Smout, Emeritus Professor of Scottish History at the University of St Andrews and Historiographer Royal of Scotland, aims to harness widespread public interest in order to locate, record and monitor coastal archaeological sites, many of which remain unearthed and unrecorded.

With training, support and advice provided by the Coastal Coordination Officer, the sSea Project will engage local communities in identifying, recording and monitoring archaeological sites along their stretch of coastline and ensuring that the findings are lodged with the appropriate local and national archives. Groups will record a variety of remains, many of which will be of local significance, and the project will also seek to further widespread public interest in coastal archaeology through publications, a website and associated educational activities.

The project follows the success of Shorewatch, initially piloted by the Council for Scottish Archaeology (CSA) and Historic Scotland to encourage local groups to locate, record and monitor archaeological sites threatened by coastal erosion. Pilot projects have been set up around the coast, including several groups in Shetland, on Coll, in Fife, Edinburgh and in the Western Isles.

Professor Smout said, “The coastline of Scotland has provided vital resources since people first came to the country. Evidence of this is preserved in thousands of archaeological sites. Many of these are threatened by erosion and a single winter storm can completely destroy a site. We aim to collect information and educate the public about the sites before they disappear forever. There is much interest in coastal archaeology and the pilot Shorewatch project has successfully encouraged local societies and community groups to monitor and record eroding archaeology. The Coastal Coordinator will help harness this interest and act as a quality control, extending the support of the Shorewatch network, disseminating survey results and providing training. The Coastal Coordinator will also establish links with other organisations working by the coast, will establish a website and raise public awareness about the unique coastal heritage.”

The sSea project will complement the work of the SCAPE Trust which was set up in February 2001 to encourage community groups around Scotland to monitor the damage being caused by coastal erosion. Made up of leading archaeologists, along with the Lord Lieutenant of Shetland, John Scott; Chairman of the Scottish Coastal Forum, Captain Tony Wilks; and Professor Chris Smout, the Trust is working with Shorewatch to encourage community groups to monitor coastal erosion.

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: hlf/standrews/chg/18sep2002

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