UNDERWATER archaeologists will be travelling down Scotland’s west coast – from Kinlochbervie to Glasgow – to gather local insight into the maritime history of the area.
Through a series of meetings and talks taking place this May, archaeologists will introduce Project SAMPHIRE (Scottish Atlantic Maritime Past: Heritage, Investigation, Research and Education) to communities along the Atlantic coast.
They want to hear from local people – or diving enthusiasts – about anything interesting or curious they have spotted beneath the water.
The SAMPHIRE team are hoping to find out about everything from previously-unknown shipwrecks, to now-submerged traces of human habitation that could go back thousands of years.
The research is being carried out by WA Coastal & Marine and RCAHMS, with support from The Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Fund.
The SAMPHIRE team will be visiting the following destinations – adding events to this schedule as they go – and are interested in hearing from anyone who has knowledge to share:
May 8 – Kinclochbervie
May 9 – Drumbeg and Lochinver
May 10 – Ullapool
May 11 – Gairloch and Torridon
May 12 – Applecross and Skye
May 13 – Skye
May 14 – Mallaig and Oban
SAMPHIRE senior project officer, John McCarthy, from WA Coastal & Marine, said:
“Local knowledge is key to improving our understanding of the history of Scotland’s coastlines. It is often those who live beside the sea, or who spend much of their lives on the water, who are most likely to make discoveries of significant historic interest.
“We are visiting a number of communities along the coast, and are looking for local people to work with us to identify and investigate Scotland’s underwater cultural heritage.
“We may be trained archaeologists, but the locals are the true experts when it comes to familiarity with their underwater landscapes.
“We also want to keep the communities involved throughout the project, reporting our discoveries to them and exploring how they can take part in the conservation and stewardship of these historic marine sites in the future.”
Fiona Wynne, stewardship manager at The Crown Estate, said: “We are very pleased to support this project which aims to discover more about the historical riches of Scotland’s coastline.
“It will help to create a national resource that underpins the importance to Scotland of the sea and the communities that live alongside it.”
The SAMPHIRE team can be met in person on the dates and venues listed above, or contacted via their website www.wessexarch.co.uk/alba , by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0131 524 9561.
They will also be recording their trip in a series of video and text blog posts at http://blogs.wessexarch.co.uk/samphire/,
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Notes for Editors
1. RCAHMS is the National Collection of materials on Scotland’s built environment that connects people to places across time. It is the first port of call for information about the built environment of Scotland, from prehistory to the present and records the changing landscape of Scotland and collects materials relating to it. www.rcahms.gov.uk
2. Project Samphire stands for Scottish Atlantic Maritime Past: Heritage, Investigation, Research & Education.
3. WA Coastal & Marine is a part of Wessex Archaeology, a non-profit company and a registered charity with offices throughout England and Scotland. In addition to working closely with developers as an archaeological consultancy, as a charity WA is established to promote the education of the public in the subjects of culture, arts, heritage and science through the pursuit of archaeology. www.wessexarch.co.uk
4. The Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Programme supports community and not-for-profit initiatives that promote sustainable management of coastal areas. Since 1999, the programme has supported around 100 projects in Scotland with approximately £1m investment. The Crown Estate recently introduced Local Management Agreements, designed to give not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to manage local coastal assets.
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