2.8 Research recommendations

It is evident that there is considerable potential for a vast resource of archaeological information in the near shore zone surrounding Scotland.  It is also evident that there is the capacity to meet the needs of investigation in this sector. However, this capacity is relatively diminutive when compared with the wide geographical spread of the potential material. There is clearly a need to build capacity in Scotland to address this through cross-sector collaboration on a number of key projects.

A systematic approach is needed in order to catalogue areas that need investigation.  These areas should be subject to targeted investigations following a wide area assessment for palaeo-landscape reconstruction. Specific features of pilot projects should include:

  • • Increased precision data on relative sea-level change, especially for island groups.
    • Detailed mapping of Scotland showing the coast at various dates and based on evidence, not modelling.
    • Predictive modelling for submerged site survival. including 3D modelling derived from the energy and aggregate industries (third party) sources.
    • Survey for submerged sites in high-potential locations.
    • A database of submerged palaeo-environmental information.
    • Work on northern Doggerland and other potential submerged landscapes around Scotland’s coastline, which could form part of the current SPLASHCOS EU initiative (

2.7 Current capacity

Name Type of organisation based in web address
GUARD commercial archaeological unit Glasgow

Headland Archaeology commercial archaeological unit Edinburgh

Historic Scotland government Edinburgh
Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology commerical unit Orkney
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) royal commission Edinburgh

Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE) charity St Andrews
University of Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Science and Management University Aberdeen
University of Edinburgh School of History, Classics and Archaeology University Edinburgh
University of Glasgow Department of Archaeology University Glasgow
University of St Andrews School of Geography and Geosciences University St Andrews
University of St Andrews School of History University St Andrews University of St Andrews School of History
Wessex Archaeology Coastal and Marine commercial archaeological unit / charitable company Edinburgh
West of Scotland Archaeological Service local government Glasgow

The current capacity to investigate the coastal and offshore areas around Scotland includes both research capabilities and survey capacity.  Organisations with research interests and capabilities for addressing the regions are available from the ScARF wiki. The table attempts to evaluate not only the academic capacity for study (the experience) but also the resources for study (field and laboratory facilities).  A measure of the survey capacity in Scotland is also included. Individuals, companies and research organizations have been listed together with an indication of the resources and previous experience in different sectors (shallow water to deep water). 

Please note that the information on current capacity available online is fully updateable and organisations are encouraged to add their details where required.