Identifying Archaeology

Mill, Assynt © Jonathan Wordsworth

Archaeology Scotland Rural Guides

These Archaeology Scotland resources have been designed to help land managers identify and manage archaeological sites and historic landscapes in Scotland. There are four categories Rural Advice Notes, Identification Guides,Management Guides and Case Studies

Rural Advice Notes

These can be printed out and saved for future reference or passed on to Land Managers who do not have access to the internet. Each note lists reasons on the first page why certain issues or features are of archaeological interest or concern. The second page gives examples of good practice and sources of more detailed information. 

1. Archaeology & Cross Compliance

2. Archaeological Information

3. Scheduled Monuments

4. Listed Buildings

5. Designed Landscapes

6. Archaeology & Good Rural Practice

7. Buffer Zones

8. Metal Detecting

9. Archaeological Finds

Management issues

10. Arable Land

11. Pasture & Stock

12. Wetlands

13. Moorland

14. Machair & Dunes

Managing site types

15. Cropmarks

16. Dykes

17. Earthen & turf banks

18. Trees & Hedges

19. Earlier Cultivation

20. Mills/Ponds & Lades

21. Old Gateways

22. Farm Buildings

23. Ruined Structures

24. Wartime sites

25. Mines & Industry

Management needs

26. Drainage

27. Fencing

28. Scrub control

29. Bracken

30. Rabbits & other burrowing animals

31. Tracks

32. Access & signs

Other issues

33. Historic Landscapes


Identification Guides

Identifying & Managing Cropmark sites : A 12 page guide explaining why it is important to remove cropmark sites from cultivation.

Identifying Archaeological Features within Scotland's Historic Landscapes (download in sections 1 , 2 & 3):

A 70 page pictorial guide on recognising the physical and other archaeological features that survive in the Scottish countryside.(Note this document has been compressed for web display. Please contact us if you require a higher resolution version of this guide.)

Identifying the historic environment in Scotland's forests and woodlands: A 36 page practice guide produced in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland and available as a printed document as well as a downloadable pdf.


Management Studies

Managing Archaeological Sites in Arable Systems: A study of the management implications involved in removing a cropmark site from cultivation

Managing Archaeological Sites in Arable Systems 2: A costed study of another management study examining the issues and implications in removing a major cropmark site from cultivation


Case Studies

The Case Study series is designed to show how archaeological and historical features survive on different land types and under different management regimes. These should be used to inform management decisions.

Case Study 1 Kinbeachie Farm, Black Isle: An Arable Farm with buried archaeology. A farm with cropmark remains showing the sensitivity of these features to changes in cultivation.

Case Study 2 Gaskbeg Farm, Laggan: An upland farm. A mixed stock farm in the highlands showing a range of different archaeological features.

Case Study 3 Airigh Bige, Tongue: Discovering archaeology in moorland. Apparent blank moorland with archaeology surveyed for a forestry scheme.

Case Study 4 Kilmartin Glen, Argyll: Access and interpretation.   A major historic landscape with important individual sites displayed for visitors raising access & interpretation issues.

Case Study 5 Morvich Farm, Rogart, Sutherland: Regenerating woodland in a historic landscape A study of the sometimes conflicting aspirations of archaeologists, owners and nature conservationists and the need for mutual understanding.

Case Study 6 Rassal NNR, Wester Ross: Nature conservation management in a historic landscape. A major nature conservation site showing the importance of studying the historic context in making management decisions.

Case Study 7 Rahoy Oak Woodland, Morvern: Woodland as a historical record. A site showing how the woodland itself can be a historical record.


(last revised 14th March 2012)