Science in Scottish archaeology: realising the vision

March 2014: The Science panel of the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) set out an exciting vision for science in Scottish archaeology. The ambition is for archaeological science in Scotland to be a world-leader, achieved through partnership and collaboration, and building on existing strengths and expertise. The vision outlines the need to increase scientific research capacity in Scotland, create a network of specialists willing to work together, and hold workshops addressing ‘hot-spot’ areas of archaeological science. We are now working collaboratively on steps towards realising this vision.

For example, the co-Chairs of the ScARF Science Panel (Dr Richard Jones & Dr Karen Milek of Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities respectively) are working with the Society and Historic Scotland on ways to develop the network of archaeological specialists. The first phase is the creation of a Directory of Archaeological Scientists – a first of its kind in Europe – which is currently being developed by Landward Research Ltd. This will provide a virtual network of archaeological scientists and aims to improve communication between scientists and field practitioners, resulting in better integration of scientific techniques. The online portal, to be hosted on the ScARF website, will comprise a directory of scientists able to work on Scottish materials (identifying their areas of specialist expertise) and resources for potential use by archaeological scientists working on Scottish materials. Fellows with archaeological scientific expertise are encouraged to contact Landward Research Ltd - The project is overseen by an Advisory Board, comprising specialists from different archaeological science areas across Scotland, many of whom contributed to the Science Panel report.

Other activity is focusing on aspects of archaeological science in need of further attention, often in terms of profile-raising or addressing skills gaps. Dr Richard Jones, for example, recently organised a workshop on lithics research (you can download the notes from the workshop here), focusing on science-based techniques and methodologies. The event, arranged around talks, demonstrations and discussion groups, was attended by archaeologists and scientists from commercial units, universities and museums. It had the aims of encouraging more science-based analysis of lithic artefacts, telling us more about how they were used and where they were sourced. The workshop also looked at the role of experimental work and methodological issues such as recovery and sampling.

Creating the directory and hosting targeted workshops are the first steps in helping us, as a sector, identify what resources are required to ensure Scottish archaeological science achieves the rich potential set out through ScARF.

Rebecca Jones, Richard Jones, Karen Milek & Jeff Sanders March 2014

(Historic Scotland, Glasgow University, Aberdeen University & Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)


April 2018

27/04/18 Consultation open on Scotland's Archaeological Periods and Ages (ScAPA)

24/04/18 Brand new case study for Future Thinking on Scotland's Carved Stones now available at

March 2018

26/03/18 The March e-newsletter is now out and available at

16/03/18 The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland are currently recruiting for a Project Manager, see the vacancy at

February 2018

07/03/18 The e-newsletter for February is now available at

January 2018

29/01/18 The e-newsletter for January is now available at

17/01/18 The Call for Papers for EAA 2018 is now available. The ScARF team are co-organising a session with Historic England and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and are now inviting abstract submissions. More information at

December 2017

18/12/17 The e-newsletter for December is now available at

18/12/17 The 'Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll (RARFA)' launched today!

November 2017

27/11/17 The 'Archaeology of Aberdeenshire' skills workshop was held today with our project partners Aberdeenshire Council museums service - a great success with attendees now more confident in their archaeological skills.

16/11/17 The Listen to the Stones pdf, a popular account of the Future Thinking on the Carved Stones of Scotland panel report, is now available to download! Find it on the downloads page

October 2017

27/10/17 The e-newsletter for October is now available at

2017 September

31/08/17 The September e-newsletter can now be read at

2017 August

31/08/17 The August e-newsletter can now be read at

31/08/17 Read Part 3 in the latest series of blog posts from the ScARF Museums Project on the Scottish Museums Federation Blog

30/08/17 Read Part 2 in the latest series of blog posts from the ScARF Museums Project  on the Scottish Museums Federation Blog

29/08/17 Read Part 1 in the latest series of blog posts from the ScARF Museums Project on the Scottish Museums Federation Blog

2017 July

27/07/17 The July e-newsletter can now be read at

31/07/17 More #dayofarchaeology posts from the ScARF team can be found at

28/07/17 The #dayofarchaeology posts from the ScARF team can be found at

28/07/17 Read the latest blog post from the ScARF Museums Project on the Scottish Museums Federation Blog

10/07/17 ScARF Museums Officer Anna has been confirmed as the Scottish Representative for the Society for Museum Archaeology

2017 June

29/06/17 The June e-newsletter can now be read at

26/06/17 The ScARF/OASIS Workshop was held today, with lots of discussion on how the updated OASIS reporting form will work in Scotland. 

17/06/17 The day conference, 'Scotlands earliest people, their landscape and houses' was held today in memory of past Society President and ScARF editor Alan Saville and was co-organised by ScARF. 

2017 May

26/05/17 The May e-newsletter is out now at

22/05/17 Medieval Panel updated: the section on Norse Scotland has been updated 

2017 April

28/04/17 The April ScARF e-newsletter is out now at

2017 March

07/04/17 The March ScARF e-newsletter is out now at

13/03/17 Our Lithics Skills Workshop was a great success and now 14 more people love Lithics!

2017 February

27/02/17 The latest monthly ScARF e-newsletter is out now at

06/02/17 The deadline for signing up for our Lithics workshop is the 24th of February - if you want to come along you can sign up at

2017 January

24/01/17 Our January e-newsletter is now out at

09/01/17 One of the presentations that ScARF gave at the European Association of Archaeologists Conference in Vilnius during August 2016 is now available to watch on Youtube at

2016 December

15/12/16 Read about the latest work on the ScARF Museums project at

02/12/16 The November ScARF e-newsletter is now available at

2016 October

31/10/16 A new Open Access page is now available, where we will list Open Access publications related to Scottish archaeology - let us know if you want yours to be added!

27/10/16 The October ScARF e-newsletter is now available at

14/10/16 The ScARF website has been updated behind the scenes. You can read more about the changes and what they might mean for you at

2016 August

24/08/16 Future Thinking on Scotland's Carved Stones is now available! You can find it at or by using the menu in the left hand side here. 

19/08/16 The latest edition of the ScARF e-newsletter can be read at

2016 July

29/07/16 The ScARF team have written a series of blog posts for the Day of Archaeology 2016, available at, and

22/07/16 Our Museums Officer, Anna, has written a blog post for the Scottish Museums Federation. you can read it at

22/07/16 Read another great report from the 14C and Archaeology conference, Edinburgh at, this one is by Ülle Aguraiuja

18/07/16 The tenth e-newsletter is out now! You can find it at

14/07/16 Read Caterina Scire Calabrisotto's report from the 14C and Archaeology conference, Edinburgh at

2016 June

27/06/16 Read Murray Sherlock Stewart's report from the Association of Environmental Archaeologists, Orkney at

24/06/16 Read Zechariah Jinks-Fredrick's report from the Iron Age Research Student Symposium, Leicester at

24/06/16 The ninth e-newsletter is out now! You can find it at

20/06/16 Read Will Wyeth's report from the Nordic Research network conference at 

10/06/16 Read Rena Maguire's report from the Europa conference at

2016 May

23/05/16 Read another report from the AEA conference at, by Albina Palsdottir

20/05/16 The eighth e-newsletter is out now! You can find it at 

13/05/16 Another ScARF Student Bursary report online - read about Youri van den Hurk's work at 

06/05/16 New content in our Student Network - read about presenting your research at

2016 April

14/03/16 The second of the ScARF student bursary reports is now online - read more about Alexandra Fitzpatricks AEA report at 

11/04/16 The seventh ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can find it at

11/04/16 The first of the ScARF student bursary reports is now online - read more about Tom Gardners AEA report at

07/04/16 The ScARF team has just doubled in size! The successful applicant for our Museums Post will begin soon, bringing the ScARF team up to two members. 

2016 March

14/03/16 The sixth ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can find it at

01/03/16 ScARF is hiring! - you can find more out at

2016 February

15/02/16 The fifth ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can read it at 

2016 January

28/01/16 Student Network page is now live!

22/01/16 The fourth ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can read it at

2015 December

18/12/15 The third ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can read it at http://

11/12/15 ScARF and CIfA workshop - The joint workshop on how to use ScARF in everyday archaeology was held on the 11th December 2015 and well attended. There will be similar workshops in the near future so please get in touch if you would like to take part. 

15/12/15 Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland: Research Framework - when it launches in Summer 2016, this framework will be part of the wider ScARF picture. You can read the draft structure and comment on it at

2015 November

30/11/15 The Archaeology of Argyll - ScARF sponsored students to attend this two day symposium and take notes that will form the basis of a new reserch framework. The notes will also be made available on the ScARF website in the New Year. 

15/11/15 The second ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can read it at

09/11/15 ScARF User Survey - preliminary results now available at

2015 October

15/10/15 The first ScARF e-newsletter is out now - you can read it at

05/10/15 The Archaeology of Cramond. ScARF sponsored four students to go to the Cramond Roman Fort conference on the 3rd October and take notes. We'll be putting the notes up on ScARF in the near future. 


2015 September

18/09/15 Coffee, cake and and an update on ScARF. If you will be in Edinburgh on the 28th September and would like to come to a coffee and a chat and to hear about the latest ScARF updates, please get in touch with emma {at} by the 21st September. 

2015 August

24/08/15 Reports now available online. You can now find the reports from the Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee online at

14/08/2015 Attention Postgraduate students! Are you researching the Romans in Scotland? Would you like to come to a conference on Cramond and its archaeology? We are looking for student volunteers to come and take notes at the one day event. The volunteers will then put the notes back into ScARF. In return, we can give you a ticket to the conference and help with travel costs. For more information please email emma {at} by the 11th September. 


2015 July

17/07/2015 Help us out by taking our survey! It shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes and can be found at

10/07/2015 The ScARF website is 3! The ScARF website was launched on the 1st June 2012, and so now seems a great time to review what we have achieved so far. If you have used or contributed to ScARF since the 1st June 2012 then we'd love to hear from you. There will be a survey coming out in the next few weeks to all known contributors but we don't want to miss anyone so please get in touch if we don't. 


2014 April

21/04/2014 More ScARF case studies added! Throughout the site we have added more case studies, find them at: Iron Age case-studies, Maritime-case-studies, Medieval-case-studies

18/04/14 ScARF at the IfA 2014 Conference: If you missed us at the 2014 Institute for Archaeologists Conference, don't worry! You can still download our amazing reseach in progress poster here

2014 March

24/03/14 Events calendar updated: The calendar has been updated to include lots more local society talks and events- why not take a look at whats on near you?


2014 February

28/02/14 Notes from workshop now available for download: Notes from the Lithics Research in Scottish Prehistory: science based and methodological issues workshop at the University of Glasgow, 13th Dec 2013 are now available for download at

24/02/14 Roman panel update: Ever wonder what happened to those major unpublished Roman excavations listed in the ScARF panel report? Wonder no more, we have a current status update for you here -

22/02/14 New Research page added! There is a new page to keep track of all the current projects taking ScARF ideas forward - have a look at


2012 September

27/09/12 Panel reports updated. There are new versions of the Bronze Age and Iron Age panel reports available to download from today from

24/09/12 ScARF Calendar now online! Ever wanted to know about upcoming presentations, seminars, conferences etc related to many aspects of Scottish archaeology? We've pulled together a wide selection from university department seminars to local group talks here - Please let us know if you have an event you would like us to add!

14/09/12 List of ScARF publications and presentations now online.

2012 August

09/08/12 If ScARF has whetted your appetite for research frameworks, we have compiled a list of others here  - It also includes a map of ScARF contributors so you can see how widely our work has reached!

2012 July

25/07/12 Wondering how to reference a piece of ScARF?

24/07/12 Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports back online! All links from the ScARF website should now work.

23/07/12 Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports temporarily unavailable Any links to SAIR from the ScARF website will not work at the moment due to server problems at the SAIR end. We will let you know as soon as this is fixed.

23/07/12 New Medieval downloads available! New downloads are available here of research commissioned at the beginning of the ScARF project into existing records of evidence for Medieval settlement and people. This research was carried out by Dr Sarah Thomas and is available as a series of csv and pdf files.

17/07/12 New Maritime downloads available! New downloads are available here of research commissioned at the beginning of the ScARF project into museums and authorities that hold maritime archaeology data. This research was carried out by Dr Shelly Werner and is available as a series of pdf, csv and tif files.

11/07/12 CANMORE now fixed! Links to sites should be working again.

11/07/12 CANMORE temporarily down - this means that links to site records within CANMORE from the ScARF website will not work at the moment. We will let you know when they are working again.

09/07/12 A Comprehensive guide to the ScARF wiki is now available for download at

2012 June

27/06/12 Research recommendations now easier to find, each panel report now has a left hand menu link to overall recommendations. You can find this underneath the bibliography link.

25/06/12 Neolithic Panel report now online!

15/06/12 Please note: The Neolithic document is currently (15th June 2012) being worked on, new content will appear gradually over the day.  Thank you for your patience.

12/06/12 Thanks for your patience! The Neolithic report is available as a pdf to download, but not available as an interactive report as yet - the ScARF team expect to be able to bring it to you by the end of the week though!

2012 May

14/05/12 Our Neolithic is missing! But don't worry, it will be back soon. It just needs some final editing and reviewing. 

11/05/12 More downloads! It is now possible to download the site lists as csv files and a distribution map of sites mentioned in the text as a pdf from the relevant panel download page.

2012 April

25/04/12 First comments on the wiki! Thank you! The first lot of registered users have now commented on the wiki - these have been useful in encouraging debate as well as helping to sort out some missing bibliographic references. Thank you if you have already contributed, and if not, comment away!

13/04/12 Missing bibliographic entries - can you help? The Science and Modern reports now have comments on pages where we are missing bibliographic references.

12/04/12 Missing bibliographic entries - can you help? The Bronze Age, Iron Age and Palaeolithic and Mesolithic reports now have comments on pages where we are missing bibliographic references. If you can help us out, please leave the reference as a comment on the relevant page! Thank you!

2012 March

30/03/12 Science, Iron Age, Neolithic reports now available to download as pdf files from

30/03/12 Comments now enabled for the Bronze Age, Medieval, Modern, Marine and Maritime, Science and Roman panel reports

29/03/12 Marine and Maritime, Medieval, Roman, Bronze Age, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, Modern reports now available to download as pdf files from

29/03/12 Comments now enabled for the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic panel report