Kelso High School project shortlisted for prestigious archaeology award

24 July 2023
The pupils explored the history of Kelso and its buildings
Kelso High School and Archaeology Scotland have been shortlisted for the Youth Engagement Project of the Year as part of this year’s Marsh Community Archaeology Awards

The awards are held annually to celebrate the outstanding contributions of people who are 'committed to social, cultural, and environmental causes, including through Archaeological impact'.

The Youth Engagement category is aimed at those projects that have made an outstanding contribution to archaeology and youth engagement, ensuring that the participation of young people has been central to the delivery of the work.

The Kelsae Intergenerational Archaeology Project was nominated by Archaeology Scotland who worked with the Council’s Community Learning and Development Service and a group of 13 students from Kelso High.

Exploring Kelso's past

With funding from the Build Back a Better Borders Fund, the aim of the project was to tackle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on those most affected by lockdowns, specifically young people and older members of the community.

Participants were keen to undertake a study of the historic buildings in the town centre and how they had changed over time. They also wanted to uncover the stories of people who had lived in Kelso in the past, so gravestone recording was conducted in Old Parish Church Burial Ground.

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Working with local stone carvers and residents at QME Care, workshops were agreed for the intergenerational element of the project, allowing residents and students to create small clay models of local buildings collectively, whilst engaging about their transformations and sharing information.

Valuable recognition

In addition to the Youth Engagement nomination, four students within the project received Silver Heritage Hero Awards, designed by Archaeology Scotland to recognise, reward and celebrate the work of participants.

The project also gained national recognition at the Youthlink National Youth Work Conference 2022, where project staff and one of the students were given the opportunity to present a workshop and showcase a poster about the project journey.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Developing Our Children and Young People, said: “I want to congratulate everyone at Kelso High School who has been involved in this project. They should be incredibly proud that they have been shortlisted for this award and that the dedication and hard work they put into this project has been recognised.

“Their willingness to research and tackle issues faced by certain groups due to the pandemic and collaborate with the wider community is great to see. I feel sure that the skills that they have gained throughout this journey will be of lifelong benefit and that their example will encourage more students to get involved in the fascinating study of Archaeology.”

A video announcing the winners will be released during the closing weekend of the Festival of Archaeology which runs from 15 to 30 July.