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Archaeology begins for new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre

3 October 2011

Archaeologists will today (Monday) begin preliminary investigations at the site of the new visitor centre for the Battle of Bannockburn.

The new centre has been designed by award-winning architects Reiach and Hall as part of the project to enhance the presentation of the battle and its significance to our history in time for the 700th anniversary of the battle in 2014.

Trial trenching is the first stage in preparations for the landscaping and building work that will begin in the new year.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“This is an exciting time for this project and I am delighted that the team can start work on site so soon after Stirling Council granted planning permission for the new centre.

“This is just the first of many project milestones to come as we look to the opening of the centre in 2014.”

The current archaeological work is focussed on the car park in the area of the proposed new visitor centre, and hopes to uncover evidence of the Roman Road which is thought to travel through the site.

Derek Alexander, Head of Archaeological Services at the National Trust for Scotland explains:

“Prior to the 1950s, this land was agricultural fields and earlier archaeological features may survive below the tarmac. As the current car park is a hard surface, the normal geophysical techniques of magnetometry and resistivity would be of limited use, therefore a team of specialists from Orkney have been employed to use Ground Penetrating Radar which can take readings through and beneath the tarmac.  

“In the 19th century, the Ordnance Survey map makers drew the line of the potential Roman Road running through this area and it is likely that Edward II’s army would have advanced along this route.  However, the exact line of the Roman Road is not known for sure and it may lie closer to or beneath the current main road in front of the existing centre.

“The survey will hopefully identify any linear features which may be a trackway or road and old field boundaries. It may also locate pits associated with camp of the Scots army.  

“Archaeologists using earthmoving machinery will dig trial trenches within the car park area to test any of the features located by the geophysical survey and to prospect for others.”

The proposal for the new visitor centre was announced in 2009 with £5m funding from the Scottish Government. An application for £3.8m has received a stage one pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund with a final decision hoped for early in 2012.

2014 will be a huge year for events in Scotland – as well as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland will also play host to the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup.

Notes for editors

  • The Battle of Bannockburn Project is a joint venture by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, to provide a new visitor centre and experience for one of the most significant battles in Scotland’s history for the 700th anniversary in the 2014.

  • The design team include:
           Architectural Team – Reiach and Hall with Sinclair Knight Merz (Engineer), Turner and Townsend (QS) and KJ Tait (M&E Engineers)
 Interpretation consultant – BrightWhite
 Landscape Architects – Ian White Associates
 Digital Design - Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV)

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768096

Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr, NTS, 0844 493 2483 / 07713 786277