05 February 2013
A leading expert on Scottish archaeology has warned that key sites are being damaged by coastal erosion. ...
A leading expert on Scottish archaeology has warned that key archaeological sites around Scotland's coastline are being damaged by coastal erosion. Julie Gibson, of the University of Highlands and Islands, who acts as Orkney's community archaeologist gave a talk at the Celtic Connections festival, in which she warned of the threat which could affect up to a third of Orkney's archaeological sites.
The talk 'Rising tides: climate change and the loss of our coastal heritage' concluded with a look at opportunities for saving vulnerable sites such as the 5,000-year-old Skara Brae Stone Age village, which stands just feet from the coastline. Julie said: 'Scotland has the longest coastline in Europe and, as a maritime nation, much of our heritage relates to the sea.Around Orkney, more than a thousand archaeological sites are threatened or are being actively damaged.
'The 5,000 year old Stone Age village of Skara Brae is dependent upon a sea wall that requires constant maintenance, the medieval site of Langskaill in Westray retreated five metres in one go a few years back and a Pictish site on Lamb Holm went from being a visible building to nothing but a line of rubble.
'Destroying our economy and livelihoods'
'Such erosion not only causes us to lose valuable information about our past, but may also damage Scotland’s future economy and the livelihoods of people in remote and rural areas. If these sites receive suitable investment, they have the potential to generate finds and media interest which will attract visitors from across the globe.'
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