New Archaeology Strategy For Scotland Launched As Europe’s Largest Archaeology Conference Opens In Glasgow
Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy has been developed by the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee, coordinated by Historic Scotland, with input from over 200 people from across the archaeology sector in Scotland and beyond. It sets out a shared national vision that Scotland’s archaeology should benefit everyone in society.
Hosted by the University of Glasgow, this is the first time that the European Association of Archaeologists conference has been held in Scotland. Over the next three days, 2000 delegates from 80 different countries will travel to the city to hear about the latest developments in European archaeology, from the ways science has helped to uncover the life stories of Scotland’s past inhabitants, to collaborative working between professional archaeologists and volunteers at the Black Loch of Myrton encouraging a radical re-think of Iron Age life in Scotland.
The EAA conference will also be marked with the launch of The Cradle of Scotland, a major exhibition revealing new discoveries in Scottish archaeology at the Hunterian Museum, as well as the Our Place in Time Arts Festival – an open access art festival showcasing creative responses to archaeology including photography, film and even cake.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Conference, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, welcomed the launch of the Strategy as an important step towards realising the full potential of Scotland’s outstanding archaeology. She said:
“Archaeology is a vital part of our heritage. We want archaeology to be for everyone, with the study of the past offering opportunities for all to discover, to care for, to promote and to enjoy our rich and diverse heritage. If we can get this right, archaeology will contribute to physical and mental well-being as well as to the growth of knowledge and the economy, and help us to tell Scotland’s stories in their global context.
“The recent events in Syria have of course placed archaeology and heritage into the headlines for the wrong reasons and the world has been rightly shocked and appalled by images of the loss of heritage sites, with the systematic looting and demolition of sites including the ancient city of Palmyra.
“As many of the world’s archaeologists gather in Glasgow for this week’s conference, world heritage is again at the forefront of our minds and will be explored at sessions and events throughout the week including an exhibition on how the trafficking of cultural objects is damaging and destroying archaeological sites worldwide.”
Professor Stephen Driscoll, Chair of the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee, commented:
“Although cultural heritage is central to Scotland’s national identity, this is the first time the whole archaeology sector has joined together to articulate a shared vision and agreed aims. The result, Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, begins a ten-year process of making archaeology important to Scottish life.
“Preparation of the strategy has involved academics and professionals, but it is intended explicitly to make archaeology matter to a wider audience than it has in the past – so now we want to make sure that everyone else is involved too. We envision this strategy as an open conversation about archaeology’s contribution to society in Scotland, and the importance of situating our heritage in a global context.
“Hopefully today’s announcement at this major conference will start a national conversation about archaeology.”
The launch of the strategy and the 21st meeting of the EAA coincide with the joining of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (a survey and recording body over 100 years old) and Historic Scotland to form a new public body for the sector which will legally be known as Historic Environment Scotland. The new body takes up its powers on October 1st.
Jane Ryder, Chair of Historic Environment Scotland, said: “As we look forward to the formation of the new body, it’s important that we take a holistic and collaborative approach, which both champions our vibrant historic environment and encourages greater participation and understanding.
“It was thanks to a spirit of widespread collaboration that the strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time, was launched early last year. And it is thanks to collaboration across the sector that the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee, coordinated by Historic Scotland, have been able to produce a strategy for Scotland’s Archaeology sector that will help it to grow and evolve over the next ten years.
“This is an exciting time for the new organisation, with the benefits clear to see and spanning areas ranging from World Heritage to tourism, to breakthroughs in new technology to the associated knowledge this brings, providing a strong foundation as we embark on the next step in our collective journey.”
Read Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy online at http://archaeologystrategy.