Background Information: heritage resources to get you started

Top Tips on resources that will kick-start your learning sessions

We’ve looked around the web for the best background information: sources of information for you to read up on, and for you to provide to learners during sessions. Here are our top tips!

For a worldwide deep-time view of the world:

The Big History Project is ‘a framework for all knowledge’. It is a free online course for educators and learners. Even if you’re not interested in the course, the Extended Big History Offerings are worth a look: a condensed course on Khan Academy, videos on YouTube, and more.

Use a Scottish time period resource to frame your sessions:

timeline (c) Archaeology Scotland

Archaeology Scotland’s timeline starts in the just after the last ice age (pictured). Other places you’ll find timelines:

National Trust for Scotland’s excellent ‘Would you Make A Good Archaeologist?‘ resource (page 19)

Scotland’s History page (this used to be part of Education Scotland’s webpages and is now found on the Scottish Association of Teachers of History (SATH) webpages)

BBC Scotland’s History – scroll to the bottom of the page to see a timeline made up of subsections of the website. Note that all the information is available but that the BBC archived/no longer update these pages.


Find remains of the past nearby:

Canmore_Lochindorb used with permissionHave wondered about that old house nearby, where historic gardens are or archaeological sites? Search Canmore: it is Scotland’s national record of the historic environment and ‘contains more than 320,000 records and 1.3 million catalogue entries for archaeological sites, buildings, industry and maritime heritage across Scotland’. It is compiled and maintained by Historic Environment Scotland.





find interesting info via images:

Images can be a surprising source of background information. Whenever I put together a image-based session or powerpoint on any subject, especially based in Scotland, my go to is SCRAN. SCRAN ‘hosts 90,000 amazing, fully-captioned images, sounds and videos from over 300 museums, galleries, and archives including the V&A, National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Museums and The Scotsman’. It is the information in the image’s captions and associated entry records that I use to give a talk or session a seasoning of interest. My favourite object so far is this charm stone used in brewing beer.

Another good source is My Learning – this is based in England and has ‘free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations’.

Please do get in touch if you have something to add, we’d love to hear from you!


Blog post author Becca Boyde is the Youth Engagement Officer at Archaeology Scotland and coordinates the Heritage Resources Portal. Views Own. Contact: or 

Blog post featured image by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Posted by: R. Boyde

Archaeology Scotland

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Post Author: r.boyde