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We have created a new public body, Historic Environment Scotland. While we work on shaping our future we can reassure you that all services and products will continue as normal. Please follow our progress and find out more about our new organisation.

What is Archaeology?

A 2000 year old weaving comb
Archaeology is the study of the human past, through the physical traces left behind in the landscape. It includes objects used in everyday life, standing monuments and landscape features, and sites buried beneath the ground.

Scotland’s rich heritage of archaeological sites and landscapes spans over 10,000 years of past human life and culture.

By protecting these remains we seek to pass on to later generations the preserved vital clues on how people lived, what their societies were like and how they interacted with their environment.

Archaeology and Historic Scotland

Through its Archaeology Funding programme, Historic Scotland funds and supports efforts to rescue information from sites which are threatened, for example by coastal erosion, burrowing animals and agricultural ploughing.

We also promote and fund work designed to improve understanding of Scotland’s archaeology. This includes supporting training and providing guidance to help reduce the destruction of archaeological sites and landscapes.

Where excavations have taken place at our properties, the Programme has in the past funded the publication of research. Nowadays, however, the cost of archaeological work at our own properties is funded separately.

Archaeological finds

A wide variety of archaeological finds are recovered from excavations and fieldwork sponsored by Historic Scotland. These are evaluated under the Scots Law of Treasure Trove and allocated to local and national museums.

Historic Scotland's Collections Unit works with archaeologists and conservators to ensure that these finds are preserved and archived to a high standard before they are deposited in museum collections.

Contact us

Archaeology Strategy Team
Heritage Management Directorate
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 131 668 8811

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