Archaeology Scotland News,  News

Archaeology Scotland Summer School Booking Open

Archaeology Scotland Summer School, 18th – 21st May 2018

The Archaeology Scotland Summer School has been held annually since 1952 and is still as popular as ever. Why not join us for a weekend of notable site visits, interesting lectures and stimulating conversation with like-minded and very sociable fellow participants.

This year, the sites that we will visit are situated mainly in two areas; between St Mary’s Loch and Selkirk in The Yarrow Valley – the medieval Royal hunting reserve once known as Selkirk (later, Ettrick) Forest, and in Teviotdale between Ancrum and Hawick, with additional sites in the northern foothills of the Cheviots east of Jedburgh and in the Merse north of Kelso. All of the sites to be visited were in the Scottish Middle March division of the Anglo-Scottish Border in the sixteenth century.

The summer school will be based at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel where the evening lectures will be held, and coach transportation will leave for the all-day field excursions on the Saturday and Sunday. The hotel is located a few miles east of Newtown St Boswells, which is situated on the A68 trunk road. Registration will take place in the hotel during the latter part of the afternoon on Friday 18th May and departure will be during the morning of Monday 21st May after an optional walking tour of the church and village of Ancrum.

We will visit sites from the prehistoric to the 20th century including forts, settlements, Roman temporary camps, churches, churchyards, medieval farmsteads, towers, castles and a WW1 military training and prisoner of war camp.

The programme will commence on the Friday evening with dinner at Dryburgh Abbey Hotel (7pm) followed by the first of three evening lectures, when Dr Chris Bowles (Archaeological Officer, Scottish Borders Council) will present a talk ‘The Forgotten Borders: Working to Rekindle the Archaeological Light’. On Saturday evening, Dr Piers Dixon (Historic Environment Scotland) will speak about ‘Medieval forest-edge farmsteads in Southern Scotland’. The third lecture will be presented by Trevor Cowie (recently retired from National Museums Scotland) on the subject of ‘The Bronze Age in the Borders; the view from Dryburgh’. Our site guides will be Strat Halliday, Chris Bowles, Piers Dixon and Dr Susan Buckham (Kirkyard Consulting and University of Stirling).

There will be two full days of field visits on the Saturday and Sunday, for which participants will be transported by coach. Several of the sites are close to the road, but some of the walking will involve short uphill stretches and there is the possibility of a ½ mile (each way) moorland walk. On the Monday morning after breakfast there will be an optional event when Dr Chris Bowles will lead a walking tour around Ancrum church and village.

Note, that landowners and tenant farmers sometimes decide at short notice not to allow the summer school to visit – usually because of stock management issues. Likewise, despite our own reconnaissance visits and resulting information supplied to coach operators in advance, they inevitably check routes at the last minute and may decide that certain roads are unsuitable for their vehicles. Therefore the following list of sites to be visited is provisional:

  • Pennymuir Roman temporary camps; the group of three or four camps situated alongside Dere Street on the north bank of the Kale Water include two of the best preserved examples in Scotland.
  • Hume Castle: a dominant site in the Merse; 18th-century rebuild around the fragmentary remains of a medieval stronghold with deserted village, site of old church, hollow ways and ridge-and-furrow cultivation.
  • Crailing Old Churchyard; contains one of the best collections of late 17th and early 18th-century gravestones in the region, with many bearing carved detail. In 2014 Archaeology Scotland commissioned an assessment of the cultural significance of the churchyard. The local community was supervised in a vegetation site clearance, and the gravestones and monuments were photographed and a sketch plan produced. A summary research report was written by graveyard expert Dr Susan Buckham.
  • Dryhope: 16th-century tower; an almost complete survival. Once owned by Philip and Mary Scott, parents of Mary ‘The flower of Yarrow’ it was slighted in 1592 and probably rebuilt in 1613.
  • St Mary’s Chapel (St Mary of the Lowes) overlooking St Mary’s Loch; the site of the medieval parish church of Yarrow, recorded in 1292 as ‘The Forest Kirk’ – it lay in the royal hunting reserve.
  • The Yarrow Stone; important early 6th-century memorial to Christian brothers Nudus and Dumnogenus. One of only a handful of very early medieval stones from Southern Scotland.
  • Newark Castle; massive oblong tower house first recorded in 1423. It stands within a barmkin; numerous 16th-century gun-loops may be seen in its walling.
  • Old Tinnis forest-edge medieval farmstead. In the 15th century, the stead of Tinnis was allocated to the currour (a forest official) of the Yarrow Ward of Ettrick Forest.
  • Fort, enclosed settlements and linear earthworks in a relatively good state of preservation on Whitcastle Hill, Branxholme to the south-west of Hawick.
  • Stobs training and prisoner of war camp; an internationally important WW1 site near Hawick. Unique survival of army training camp with training ground, firing ranges and trenches. WW1 prisoners of war and internment camp. The Stobs project is a community based project led by Archaeology Scotland with the objectives of improving access for visitors and creating the necessary interpretation materials to ensure that the role of this site during WW1 is not forgotten.


Transport Links:

By bus: Borders Buses operate from Edinburgh to St Boswells bus stance (journey time 1 ¾ hours) as also stop at Newtown St Boswells (Royal Bank). See: service 51/52 . Ace Taxis (07929 232923) operate locally and the hotel regularly use a local taxi operated by Darren (07801 238224). There is not a bus service to the hotel, however a footpath from Newtown St Boswells leads to the Abbey and hotel via a footbridge; it is a 15 minute walk. The closest bus stop to the footpath is Newtown St Boswells, Royal Bank.

By train: the new Borders railway runs from Edinburgh to Galashiels and Tweedbank. See Borders Buses service 67 connects Galashiels Transport Interchange with Newtown St Boswells. See above for details of local taxi services.

By road: Dryburgh Abbey and Hotel are signposted from Newtown St Boswells, which is situated on the A68 trunk road. Newtown St Boswells is approximately 38 miles south from central Edinburgh.



Accommodation for participants has been booked in the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel. A grand Scottish baronial country house hotel situated in 11 acres of private grounds on the bank of the River Tweed adjacent to the ruined abbey. The 3 star hotel has an indoor heated pool and sauna. All rooms provide heating, tea and coffee-making facilities, en-suite bathroom and a television.


Advance payment

Please note that all participants in the summer school are required to pay in full in advance. Resident participants should enclose payment for accommodation and the registration fee. However, the single room supplements should be paid to the hotel upon arrival on 18th May. Non-resident participants should enclose the registration fee together with advance payment for any dinners they wish to enjoy in the hotel.


Resident participation

Participants requiring a room in the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel should complete the attached resident registration form and include full payment for their accommodation along with their registration fee (see below). The tariff is £75 per person per night for dinner and bed and breakfast in double or twin accommodation. Packed-lunches on Saturday and Sunday will cost an additional £10 each. A number of rooms are available for single occupancy, for which a supplement of £25 per person per night is payable; these are available on a ‘first come first served’ basis. Please note that this supplement should be paid directly to the hotel upon arrival on 18th May and not forwarded with your payment to Archaeology Scotland.


Non-resident participation

If you wish to attend the summer school and arrange your own alternative accommodation, you should complete the attached non-resident registration form and indicate if you would like to have dinner in the hotel with the resident participants. Three course dinner with tea/coffee for non-residents will cost £25 and must be paid in advance. Non-resident participants will be responsible for providing their own packed lunches. To register for non-resident participation, please include your registration fee (see below) with your application form and advance payment for any dinners.


Registration fees

The registration fees are payable by all participants – resident and non-resident.

Archaeology Scotland members: £119            Non-members: £149

This fee includes coach transportation to within reasonable walking distance of sites, entrance fees (if applicable), a detailed excursion guide, and administration costs and expenses for organisers, guides and speakers.

The advertised benefits of membership of Archaeology Scotland include reduced rates and priority booking for the summer school; this is reflected in the differential between member and non-member registration fees to encourage all participants to join Archaeology Scotland.   



Application forms along with the registration fee and pre-payment (as appropriate) for accommodation or non-resident dinners should be sent to the Summer School Director by 31st March 2018. Final programme details will be sent to participants in late April/early May.



The policy of Archaeology Scotland is that registration fees are non-refundable unless a cancellation allows a wait-listed person to attend. Refund of advance payment for accommodation at Garve Hotel will be possible only if Archaeology Scotland is informed of, and confirms receipt of, any cancellation before 31st March. You are advised to insure against illness and other possible reasons for cancellation.



Further information may be obtained from the Summer School Director, Geoff Waters (0131 449 4610); e-mail: or the Assistant Director Alison Reid (01698 429337); email: or from Archaeology Scotland (0300 012 9878); e-mail:


2018 registration form