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archaeology grants

Our Archaeology Funding Programme

The Archaeology Funding Programme operates under section 45 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (to be replaced by future legislation in 2015). Its main purpose is to acquire better knowledge about the historic environment through archaeological investigation and research.

Work is commissioned on a commercial basis or (wherever possible) by grants to bodies such as universities or heritage trusts.

What we fund

Most of our Archaeology Programme grants are for projects which rescue information in the face of unavoidable threats, or help us to assess the threats to archaeological sites and landscapes. The most common threats are:

  • coastal erosion and related natural processes;
  • semi-natural processes such as rabbit damage or regeneration of woodland;
  • gradual processes resulting from human activities, like the destruction of sites by agricultural ploughing.

Examples of funded projects:

  • fieldwork and reporting
  • conservation of excavated artefacts
  • specialists reports based on analysis of excavated material
  • publication of archaeological reports
  • the disposal of finds to museums
  • research into information and techniques for managing sites and monuments
  • writing up important excavations whose directors are no longer active in archaeology
  • informing and educating the public about archaeological work.

What we do not fund

Archaeology grants are not given for improving the condition of monuments or their long-term management. Other grants are available from Historic Scotland for these purposes.

We do not normally give Archaeology Programme grants for:

  • projects dealing with archaeology in advance of or during developments which require planning permission
  • pure archaeological research outside the list of valid topics above, without any element of site-based investigation
  • projects which have already begun without our initial involvement

How to apply

In general we look to you to fund a significant proportion of the project yourself, or get part-funding from other sources. Projects may be short and self-contained or, where appropriate, may last several years – we have supported projects ranging from £50 to £500000.

For the 2015-16 financial year there will be a single bidding cycle. Applications are invited from qualifying projects and are to be received by 30 September 2014. The relevant application form and guidance to use can be found using the links below. Those who have requested to be added to our e-mail contact list, and those who we know to be active in Scottish archaeology, will receive the application form and guidance by e-mail in late August. Decisions on the Programme will be made using a grant appraisal scheme and will be announced in January. Urgent projects can, however, be considered at any time of year.  

If you wish to be placed on our contact list to receive an application form and guidance by e-mail please send us an email ( and title it “Archaeology Programme 2015-16 – name of project”.

Application process

To discuss your proposals with Historic Scotland before applying please contact the Archaeology Strategy team by e-mail on making sure to title your e-mail “Archaeology Programme 2015-16– name of project”.  You should also consider whether the project you are applying for will require Scheduled Monument Consent. This should be in place before any grant can be issued, this can also be discussed with the Archaeology Strategy Team in the first instance. Please ensure that all relevant sections of the bid form and completed, particularly the project description.

Please note that the bid form has been updated. Please ensure that you read the guidelines for the new form, as well as the grant conditions, thoroughly before you submit your bid. Continuing projects should re-submit the table in question 7.

Obtain up to date application forms and guidance by using these links;

PDF icon Guidance for potential applicants [pdf, 602kb]
Microsoft Word icon Archaeology Grant 2015-16 bid form [word doc, 135kb]
PDF icon Guidance on completion of bid form [pdf, 149kb]
PDF icon Conditions attaching to Archaeology Grants 2015-16 [pdf, 173kb]
Microsoft Word icon Archaeology Publication grants 2015-16 bid form [word doc, 38kb]
PDF icon Conditions for Archaeology publication grants 2015-16 [pdf, 230kb]

If you have any trouble editing these documents please contact us using the address above.

E-mail your application to making sure to title your e-mail “Archaeology Programme 2015-16 – name of project”. Please return by 30 September 2014.

If your bid is an emergency, contact Rod McCullagh to discuss on making sure to title your e-mail “Emergency Bid Archaeology Programme 2015-16 – name of project”.

Indicative decisions will be announced in January 2015 for projects beginning on or after 1st April 2015, the start of our funding year.

If you receive a grant offer, you need to accept it in writing, including the conditions of grant.

If you are successful, we will agree project-by-project on how you will draw your grant.

On completion of your project, we will discuss with you how your results can most effectively be published, and may be able to support this by offering a grant to a journal or other publication.

Contact us

Investment Team
Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8769

Archaeology Programme Funding

Read about the new Funding Initiative by Historic Scotland

Archaeology Programme Funding [pdf, 1mb]

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