Learning from Loss 2018 Fieldtrip summary Between the 10th and 21st June 2018, a team of 15 heritage researchers, practitioners and managers from Scotland and the US took part in a Scottish Universities Insight Institute funded programme to explore how society could respond to loss in the historic environment in the face of climate change looking forward to 2030. We used our shared expertise in coastal and carved stone heritage to examine the impacts and issues. We set out to do this in an ambitious 10-day field trip visiting coastal and carved stone heritage sites from Edinburgh to Orkney. Wherever possible we met with local residents who guided us around their valued but vulnerable heritage, and along the way we held community meetings in East Wemyss and on the island of Sanday. Overall around 70 people were involved in the journey. We talked about what heritage means to us. We asked about aspirations for threatened heritage looking forward. We discussed how to prioritise threatened sites for action. We considered the range of options available for mitigating loss of heritage and how to involve more people in making decisions about what to prioritise and how to respond. The following is a record of the sites we visited and inspired us on our Learning from Loss journey.
Sun 10th June
Edinburgh graveyards, New Calton, Greyfriars and Warriston with Edinburgh World Heritage.
Mon 11th June
Opening meeting hosted by Historic Environment Scotland.
Tues 12th June
Site visits to Wemyss Caves with Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society and community meeting in Rosie Hall. Site visits to St Andrews Cathedral and Castle and St Monans salt pans and Newark Castle. Site visits to St Vigeans, Aberlemno, Boddin Point.
Wed 13th June Thurs 14th June Fri 15th June
Site visits to Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness, Newark Bay. Community meeting at Newark.
Sat 16th June
Site visits with Sanday residents to Newark, Lopness, Meur Burnt Mound, Quoyness, Augmund Howe Cairn.
Sun 17th June
Site visits with Sanday residents to Pool, Stove and community meeting in Sanday School.
Mon 18th June
Free time in Kirkwall. Site visit to Brough of Birsay.
Tues 19th June
Site visits to Castlehill Pavement Works, Nybster Broch and Brora salt pans with Clyne Heritage Society.
Wed 20th June
Site visits to Loch Fleet boat graveyard with North of Scotland Archaeology Society members and to Hilton of Cadboll replica Pictish stone.
Thurs 21st June
Closing workshop with HES.
Day 1: Sunday 10th June, Edinburgh New Calton Burial Ground
One of the 5 burial grounds included in the Edinburgh World Heritage Graveyards Project the New Calton Burial Ground, overlooking the Old Town of Edinburgh was built as a replacement for the Old Calton Burial Ground in 1817, and was initially used for the re-interment of up to 300 bodies disturbed by the construction of Waterloo Place. It is included in the World Heritage Fundâ€™s 2010 Watch List because of threats from weathering, anti-social behaviour, lack of public awareness and lack of resources. Currently managed by a Friends group who are working to improve the condition of the burial ground as well as offering tours to raise public awareness.
Day 1: Sunday 10th June, Edinburgh Greyfriars Churchyard
Also included in the Edinburgh World Heritage Graveyards Project, Greyfriars Kirkyard - founded in 1561 - is home to the graves of a number of famous Edinburgh residents and significant stone monuments, while part of the area was used as a prison for the Covenanters in 1679. Popular as an outdoor green space, with an active community group undertaking maintenance, itâ€™s also visited by an estimated 250,000 tourists thanks to its famous associations, particularly with Greyfriars Bobby and Harry Potter.
Day 1: Sunday 10th June, Edinburgh Warriston Cemetery
Warriston Cemetery, dating to 1842, was Edinburghâ€™s first garden cemetery, a movement developed in response to Victorian demand for attractive burial grounds which reflected the status and wealth of those buried there. Following a period of neglect and vandalism, an active Friends group was established in 2013 to maintain the area, managing the vegetation and improving access and awareness.
Day 3: Tuesday 12th June, East Wemyss Wemyss Caves, East Wemyss, SM817
Home to the largest collection of Pictish cave carvings in Scotland, the natural threat of erosion and relative sea level rise is demonstrated by the remains of failed coastal defences along the beach. Problems with vandalism culminated in 1986 when a stolen car was set on fire in one of the caves, destroying several carvings and prompting the creation of the Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society to protect and promote the caves. As well as running a range of events, SWACS have recently undertaken the 4D Wemyss Caves project in collaboration with SCAPE to record and celebrate the heritage.
At a workshop and meeting with SWACS following the site visit, the committee presented the evolution, current activities and aspirations of the society.
Day 4: Wednesday 13th June, St Andrews & St Monans St Andrews Cathedral, PIC035 & 038, SM13322
St Andrews Cathedral has its roots in the 8th century as a Celtic monastery, and became Scotlandâ€™s premier medieval church prior to its destruction during the Reformation, though the burial ground continued in use. An important collection of carved stones from the Pictish to Post-Reformation periods have been recovered, and are now presented in the on-site museum.
Day 4: Wednesday 13th June, St Andrews & St Monans St Andrews Castle PIC034 SM90259
St Andrews Castle was the official residence of the leading bishop in Scotland. Seriously damaged by erosion, it is the first example in Scotland of a heritage site to be protected by the construction of a coastal defence in 1886 â€“ although most visitors now assume that the sea wall is part of the castle structure.
Day 4: Wednesday 13th June, St Andrews & St Monans St Monans salt pans, St Monans SM5529
Sir John Anstrutherâ€™s 18th century saltpan complex represents the pinnacle of late 18th century coal-fired coastal salt making in Scotland. Fife Council supported archaeological excavations here in the 1980s for development as a tourist attraction along the newly opened Fife Coastal Path. Failure of coastal defences means the site is now being impacted by coastal erosion, with one of the pan-houses exposed in the coast edge and being undermined by the sea.
Day 4: Wednesday 13th June, St Andrews & St Monans Newark Castle, St Monans SM866
The original castle structure here may date to the mid-13th century, though the current building remains probably are probably of 15th century date. Much of the standing structure has been damaged by erosion and is collapsing, though a failed attempted was made in the 1980s to renovate the building for use as a house.
Day 5: Thursday 14th June, Aberlemno, St Vigeans & Boddin Point Aberlemno Sculptured Stones PIC003 SM90004
This collection of four sculptured stones includes three Pictish symbol stones originally found in a nearby field and removed to what is thought to be closer to their original site at the roadside on the way into the village of Aberlemno; and a magnificent Pictish cross-slab which has been relocated to the churchyard. Custom-made boxes protect and cover the stones during winter. New interpretation boards for each stone have been recently installed.
Day 5: Thursday 14th June, Aberlemno, St Vigeans & Boddin Point St Vigeans museum and church PIC041
A large and significant collection of 38 Pictish and early medieval sculpted stones was recovered from the churchyard of St Vigeans and from the fabric of the church itself during 19th century restoration work. These are housed in a purpose-built museum open 8 days a year or by appointment.
Day 5: Thursday 14th June, Aberlemno, St Vigeans & Boddin Point Boddin limekiln, Boddin Point
This large mid-18th century limekiln produced lime for agricultural improvement. The seaward side is seriously eroding and one corner of the structure has collapsed. The low promontory the kiln is built on also contains a harbour, ice house and 2 wooden salmon cobbles all associated with the historic stake net salmon fisheries, still operating from Boddin. A laser scan survey by SCAPE in 2010 recorded the structure and created a baseline for monitoring future loss â€“ the recent collapse can be seen when its current condition is compared to this record.
Day 6: Friday 15th June, Mainland Orkney Skara Brae PIC314 SM90276
First exposed by a storm in 1850 with intermittent investigations until the 1970s, this iconic site is now defended from erosion by a coastal defence originally built in the 1920s, but with later repairs and extensions. Access to the Neolithic buildings is now prohibited but an interpretive reconstruction (though with elements of dubious authenticity) provides an immersive experience for visitors prior to a self-guided tour around the excavated elements of the original village.
Day 6: Friday 15th June, Mainland Orkney Ring of Brodgar, Orkney World Heritage Site PIC313 SM90042
The massive stone circle of the Ring of Brodgar – probably dating to between 2500 and 2000 BC – originally consisted of 60 stones, of which 36 now survive, is part of a wider ritual landscape, enclosed by a large rock-cut ditch with at least 13 burial mounds around the stones. The site has never been scientifically investigated, although it was one of the first archaeological sites in Britain to be protected as a Scheduled Monument. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Orkney, although access inside the stones is currently closed due to problems with drainage. 14
Day 6: Friday 15th June, Mainland Orkney Stones of Stenness, Orkney PIC321 SM90285
One of the elements of the wider landscape around the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness date to c.5, 400 years ago, possibly the earliest henge monument in the British Isles.
Day 6: Friday 15th June, Mainland Orkney Newark Bay, Deerness
A multi-period site, though best-known as a chapel and burial ground; human burials, structures and archaeological deposits are being actively eroded here, though efforts to defend the coast by the local community â€“ involving clay packing and stacking beach cobbles and sandbags â€“ are currently slowing the damage. Past investigation by Don Brothwell recovered a number of human remains, though the methods of the fieldwork and post-excavation treatment of remains have caused concern, and the archive is currently the subject of an HES project. Further recovery of human remains was undertaken as part of a call-off contract in the 2000s.
Current threats to the site, issues raised by the past work and the research potential of the wider site â€“ which spans the prehistoric to industrial periods â€“ were discussed at a meeting with HES and local stakeholders along with a range of responses and possible management options for the site.
Day 7: Saturday 16th June, Sanday Newark settlement mound
A settlement mound with drystone structures and midden deposits eroding from the coastal section. A linear stone structure on the rock platform in front of the mound has been interpreted as the remains of a fish trap or eroded walling. The site has not been investigated and its date and function are unknown - but the loose sandy matrix of the mound is unstable and the site is under severe threat from erosion.
Day 7: Saturday 16th June, Sanday Lopness prehistoric settlement
Tentatively identified as a broch with an extra-mural settlement, the main structure has been badly damaged by erosion and more than half appears to have been lost. The section through the building has exposed thick, curving external walls, with piers constructed of drystone walls and large orthostats dividing the interior space along with associated midden deposits. A further drystone structure immediately to the south has been section by coastal erosion and probably represents a building either associated with the main structure or later in date.
Day 7: Saturday 16th June, Sanday Meur burnt mound
This Bronze Age complex burnt mound was first investigated in 2005 following its exposure on the beach by a storm. In response to the ongoing damage to the structures, the local community approached SCAPE with a proposal to re-excavate, dismantle and relocate the site to physically save it from erosion. The initial fieldwork in 2014 achieved this objective but revealed more complex structures and identified earlier features underlying the site. The reconstructed monument is now one of the attractions at the islandâ€™s heritage centre with associated interpretation.
Day 7: Saturday 16th June, Sanday Quoyness chambered cairn PIC259 SM90243
This Maes Howe type Neolithic chambered cairn probably dates to around 3500-2500 BC. Used for communal burials, it is surrounded by other tombs and cairns forming a Neolithic and Bronze Age funerary landscape. Partially reconstructed and visible over long distances from the surrounding area, the tomb is a popular focal point and walking destination. A wind-up torch at the entrance invites visitors to explore inside the monument. Protected by a coastal defence, the site is one of the top 28 sites at risk in the HES Climate Change Risk Assessment.
Augmund Howe or Egmondshowe Cairn SM1236
Just a short distance from Quoyness and also part of the funerary landscape, a badly eroded probable chambered cairn surrounded by a chain of 11 mounds linked by a dyke.
Day 8: Sunday 17th June, Sanday Pool settlement mound
A multi-period settlement mound, with remains dating from the Neolithic to Norse periods. Multiple phases of stone structures and midden deposits are eroding from the coastal section, and although the site has been partially investigated, features that have not yet been excavated are under threat from erosion.
Day 8: Sunday 17th June, Sanday Stove settlement
A long coastal section including a number of visible drystone structures thought to be Neolithic in date, although the site has never been systematically investigated.
The site visit was followed by a meeting with the local community where the significance of the islandâ€™s coastal heritage, threats, and aspirations for the heritage in 2030 were discussed.
Day 9: Monday 18th June, Mainland Orkney The Brough of Birsay, Orkney KW17 2LX PIC278 SM90034
This dramatically situated tidal island was home to a high-status settlement from the 7th century until the medieval period. Protected by a coastal defence so well-designed it is difficult, from a distance, to distinguish it from the natural geological strata. One of the top 28 sites at risk in the HES Climate Change Risk Assessment.
Day 10: Tuesday 19th June, Caithness & Brora Castlehill Heritage Centre and pavement works
This extensive extractive landscape exploited the local sandstone geology and includes quarries, a cutting yard, wind engine tower, offices, housing, and a 19th century harbour from which the flagstones were exported around the world. The large spoil tips which originally lined the coast edge in front of the works are now eroding; revealing revetment walls apparently built into the tips to contain the spoil, and covered drains which are now on the foreshore. The Castletown Heritage Society established a heritage trail around the remains of the works, with paths and interpretation boards, and runs the Castlehill Heritage Centre, in renovated farm buildings within the flagstone works complex, though many of the other buildings are ruinous and fenced off.
Day 10: Tuesday 19th June, Caithness & Brora Nybster Broch, SM569
A broch and extensive associated settlement located on a high cliff-top promontory. The site was excavated by the antiquarian Sir Francis Tress Barry who was prolific in investigating the brochs of Caithness. A large monument to Tress Barry built by his colleague John Nicolson and decorated with fantastical sculptures was probably constructed of stone excavated from the broch. It was originally situated within the broch settlement on the seaward end of the promontory, where the original base still stands, but was relocated in the 1980s under the auspices of a job-creation scheme, to its current location at the landward side of the site. Recent work by AOC Archaeology in partnership with Caithness Archaeological Trust and the University of Nottingham involved laser scans, condition survey, excavation and the production of a Conservation Management Plan. 28
Day 10: Tuesday 19th June, Caithness & Brora Brora salt pans, Brora Back Beach
The Brora salt pans, excavated by SCAPE in partnership with the local community and Clyne Heritage Society, were first established by the Sutherland Estate.in the late 16th century with another phase in the same area dating to the 18th century. They used local coal from the small pocket of Jurassic geology on this stretch of the coast to boil seawater to extract the salt. The salt pans are part of a wider 16th to 18th century industrial landscape including lime kilns and coal mines. The area has faced significant erosion with many of the buildings already lost to the sea, the latest in 2013. In a formerly industrial community, there is very strong local interest in the remains and stories of Broraâ€™s historical industrial past.
Day 11: Wednesday 20th June Loch Fleet boat graveyard
Previously undocumented, Loch Fleet was a safe haven used by the herring fishing fleets of Embo and Golspie fishing villages in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The south shore contains a boat graveyard with the remains of at least 17 wooden drifters of the distinctive â€˜Zuluâ€™ type which once dominated the east coast herring fishery. From a Scottish fleet of thousands, only 3 survive. The upstanding boat remains are now extremely deteriorated. The site was first recorded by SCAPE and the North of Scotland Archaeology Society in 2014; members of whom have carried out extensive historical research into the vessels and oral history research in the local community.
Day 11: Wednesday 20th June, Hilton of Cadboll PIC299 The medieval chapel of Hilton of Cadboll lies on the Tarbat peninsula, an important centre of early Christian Pictish activity. The Hilton of Cadboll stone is a Pictish cross-slab, dating to around AD 800, though it broke soon after and was reerected, standing until 1674 when it broke a second time and was subsequently reworked on one side as a memorial. This upper portion of the stone is in the National Museum of Scotland, and a modern replica – copying the original on one side and with a speculative design on the other based on similar Pictish carvings – stands on the site. The lower portion, excavated and recovered in 2001, retains the original carving on both sides and is on display locally. A research report on the stone’s history is available online. 31
Day 12: Thursday 21st June, Edinburgh Closing meeting with Historic Environment Scotland
A chance to review and reflect on the Learning from Loss fieldtrip with colleagues in Historic Environment Scotland.
Core programme participants
Sally Foster (Lecturer in Heritage and Conservation, University of Stirling)
Bill Lees (Executive Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network, University of West of Florida)
Sarah Miller (Regional Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Flagler College)
Colin Muir (Stone conservator, HES) David Harkin (Climate Change Scientist, Historic Environment Scotland) Ellie Graham (SCAPE & University of St Andrews) Hannah Genders Boyd (Intern, Historic Environment Scotland) Joanna Hambly (SCAPE & University of St Andrews)
Tom Dawson (SCAPE & University of St Andrews)
Participants in site visits and meetings Adrian Cox, (Archaeologist, Cultural Resources Team, HES) Alistair Rennie (Dynamic Coast project manager & SNH) Anna Donaldson (Friends of New Calton Burial Ground) Anne Coombs (NoSAS)
Kirsty Owen (Senior Archaeology Manager, Historic Environment Scotland)
Anne Mitchell (Newark, Deerness)
Liz Robson (PhD candidate, University of Stirling)
Beth Barnes-Wilcox (Sanday resident)
Mairi Davies (Climate Change Manager, Historic Environment Scotland) Marcy Rockman (Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator, US National Parks Service) Monica Beck (University of West Florida) Qian Gao (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Stirling)
Barbara Crawford, (Chair, SCAPE) Beccy Jones (Head of Archaeology and World Heritage, HES)
Carl Majors (Clyne Heritage Society) Caroline Gerrard (Friends of Warriston Cemetery) Carolyn Dickson (Sanday resident) Cath Parker (Sanday resident & HES) Charlie Clarke (SWACS) Charles Pfeil (SWACS, East Wemyss Community Council) Claire Herbert Aberdeenshire Council
Colin Cargill (Friends of New Calton Burial Ground)
Liz Brown (Sanday resident)
Dave Anderson (SWACS)
Mike Arrowsmith (SWACS)
Dave Reay (Newark, Deerness)
Clyne Heritage Society members Nancy Carstairs (SWACS)
Deirdre Cameron (Senior Casework Officer, HES)
Nicki Scott (Cultural Resources Advisor, HES)
Douglas Speirs (Fife Council Archaeologist)
Penny Calvert (Sanday resident)
Edinburgh World Heritage Graveyards Project members Emma Neave-Webb (Sanday resident & Sanday Ranger) Hilary Hines (Sanday resident) Imogen Sawyer (Sanday resident) Isobel Gardner (Newark Deerness) Jacqui Aitken (Clyne Heritage Society) Jamie Barnes (Casework Officer, HES) Jim Towrie (Sanday resident) John Lawson (Archaeologist, Edinburgh City Council) John Raven (Deputy Head of Casework, HES) Jonie Guest (NoSAS) Judith Anderson (Cultural Significance Advisor, Cultural Resources Team, HES) Julie Gibson (Orkney Island Council Archaeologist) Kelsey Jackson-Williams (Lecturer, University of Stirling) Ken Caldwell (Councillor, Fife Council) Keren Pugh (Sanday resident) Laura Hindmarch (Archaeology and World Heritage Manager, HES)
Pam Cranston (SWACS) Penny Paterson (Clyne Heritage Society) Pete Higgins (Senior Project Manager, ORCA) Peter Gentleman (Greyfriars Kirkyard) Richard Guest (NoSAS) Robin Calvert (Sanday resident) Robin Turner (Head of Survey & Recording, HES) Rod Thorne (Sanday resident) Roger Smith (Clyne Heritage Society) Rona Towrie (Sanday resident) Russell Neave (Sanday resident) Sanday residents SiĂ˘n Jones (Professor of Environmental History and Heritage, University of Stirling) Stefan Sagrotti (Archaeologist, Cultural Resources Team, HES) Steve Pugh, (Sanday resident) Sue Hamstead (SWACS) Susan Buckham (Graveyards Development Officer, Edinburgh World Heritage & University of Stirling) Sylvia Thorne (Sanday resident)
SUII programme Learning from Loss itinerary and participants