New funding secures future of Can You Dig It archaeology project

28 April 2020
The Galloway Glens Scheme has this week secured match funding from Historic Environment Scotland for a further two years of activity through the ‘Can You Dig it’ project, enabling it to run until 2022.

The Galloway Glens Scheme is undertaking 5 years of activity up and down the Ken/Dee valley in the Stewartry, using National Lottery Heritage Funding to ‘connect people to their heritage’, while boosting the local economy and supporting sustainable communities.

One of its flagship projects is a Community Archaeology programme called ‘Can You Dig It’, started in early 2019. This project, jointly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, allowed volunteers, supported by professional archaeologists from Rathmell Archaeology, to carry out digs and investigations at sites up and down the Galloway Glens area, from the deserted settlement at Polmaddy above Carsphairn to Moat Brae and Castledykes in Kirkcudbright.

They also uncovered a deserted kiln barn and farmstead on the Raiders Road, dug for an iron-age fort on Little Wood Hill on the NTS Threave Estate and surveyed various churchyards.

Community involvement

The programme was aimed very much at enthusiastic amateurs, although there is an enormous amount of archaeological knowledge embedded in these communities, and so Rathmell Archaeology also held workshops to teach new skills such as Online Resources to Support your Research and 3-D Modelling of Artefacts. 

You can see a summary of what was achieved to date here.

What will happen now?

Helen Keron, Education and Community Engagement Officer for the Galloway Glens, said: “We were so impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge of our Can You Dig It volunteers last year, it’s absolutely wonderful to get continuation funding from HES so that we can continue working with them and with new participants to learn more about the fascinating archaeology of the Galloway Glens area. 

"The COVID 19 outbreak has of course affected our 2020 fieldwork plans, and so the Can You Dig It project will be solely an online presence for the next few months. It already has an excellent Facebook and Twitter feed, with lots of fascinating historical information about the Galloway Glens area, and you can look forward to more of that, plus VLOGs and webinars in the near future.

"However, Can You Dig It will be back in the field in the summers of 2021 and 2022, with lots of exciting plans for supporting volunteers in gaining ever more skills. 

"A big focus of the project will continue to be on accessibility and participation, so if you’ve always wanted to find out more about archaeology but are worried about whether you’d be able to manage it, just get in touch and we will make all the adaptations we possibly can. Thanks are due to all our Steering Group members, in particular David Devereux and the Council’s Archaeologist, Andrew Nicholson, for their support and guidance of the Can You Dig It project so far and over the next 2 years.” 

Visit the project website here.

Read more archaeology news, dig reports and finds analysis in each issue of History Scotland. May/June issue out now and available here.



(images copyright Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme)