Cairn at Caolas, Rogart

Identifying and managing archaeology

The following resources have been designed to help land managers identify archaeological sites and historic landscapes in Scotland. There are four categories:

  • Rural advice notes
  • Identification guides
  • Management guides
  • Case studies

We have also included related links that may be of interest.

Rural advice notes

1. Cross Compliance

2. Archaeological Information

3. Scheduled Monuments

4. Listed Buildings

5. Designed Landscapes

6. Archaeology & good rural practice

7. Buffer zones

8. Metal detecting

9. Archaeological finds

10. Arable land

11. Pasture & stock

12. Wetlands

13. Moorland

14. Machair and dunes

15. Cropmarks

16. Dykes

17. Earthen and turf banks

18. Trees and hedges

19. Earlier cultivation

20. Mills, ponds, and lades

21. Old gateways

22. Farm buildings

23. Ruined structures

24. Wartime & battlefield sites

25. Mines and industry

26. Drainage

27. Fencing

28. Scrub control

29. Bracken

30. Rabbits and other burrowing animals

31. Tracks

32. Access and signs

33. Historic landscapes


Identification guides

A 12 page guide explaining why it is important to remove cropmark sites from cultivation.
Identifying archaeological features within Scotland’s historic landscapes, part 1
Identifying archaeological features within Scotland’s historic landscapes, part 2
Identifying archaeological features within Scotland’s historic landscapes, part 3

Management guides

A study of the management implications involved in removing a cropmark site from cultivation
A costed study of another management study examining the issues and implications in removing a major cropmark site from cultivation

Case studies

Case Study 1 An arable farm with buried archaeology

Case Study 2 Archaeology on an Upland Farm

Case Study 3 Archaeology in Moorland

Case Study 4 Access & Interpretation

Case Study 5 Regenerating woodland in a historic landscape

Case Study 6 Nature conservation management in a historic landscape

Case Study 7 Woodland as a historic record



European Landscape Convention A pan European policy for landscape endorsed by Scottish and UK governments.
Scottish National Rural Network Funding and support
Scottish Government LEADER – Links Between Activities Developing the Rural Economy
Land Mangers’ Options
Rural Priorities

The Muirburn Code provides information on moorland management as does Prescribed Burning on Moorland.

Trees in relation to Construction BS5837:2005 BSI Guidelines on best practice including removal of trees in relation to buildings.
Woodland Trust The Woodland Trust provide resources on ancient trees and including the Ancient Tree Guide
Agroforestry Toolbox This website helps farmers, land managers, and advisors decide if silvopastoral agroforestry is a viable alternative and beneficial lan use on farm land, and provides practical information on how to set it up.
Dry Stone Landscape The UNiversity of Catalunya has a useful website which lists a variety of structures, walls, and terraces in Catalunya and across the world.
DSWA The Drystone Walling Association of Great Britain have an excellent website which includes a professional register of members and a useful series of publications and downloadable leaflets on styles and methods. Technical and legal requirements are also available.
Cultivation remains The Guidelines for the Preservation of Areas of Rig and Furrow in Scotland, compiled by John Barber
SCAPE The SCAPE Trust have done a great deal of work on coastal erosion.
Management of archaeological sites in arable landscapes BD 1701 A detailed and important study funded by DEFRA and English Heritage looking at the impact of arable agriculture on archaeological sites. It includes a series of major Case Studies. This is one of 5 studies under the Research Theme Landscape, History & Amenity including the important COSMIC model for assessing risk to cropmark sites. The latest is BD 1705 (2010) Trials to identify Soil Cultivation Practices to Minimise the Impact on Archaeological Sites Caring for Archaeological Sites on Arable Land A 6 page leaflet produced by English Heritage.
A Stitch in Time This resources produced by SPAB & IHBC (Institute of Historic Building Conservation), emphasises the importance of regular checks and maintenance
Maintenance Matters Cadw (Welsh Heritage Agency) have a useful site including, under their Care and Conservation series, Small Rural Dwellings in Wales (in 3 parts) and Traditional Agricultural Buildings in Wales (in 2 parts).  These resources are currently not available online.  Converting Historic Farm Buildings: A Guide to Good Practice (in 2 parts) is also a very useful resource.
Bracken control group The Heather Trust based in Dumfries co-ordinate the Bracken Control Group with several useful papers.
Darmoor Archaeology and Bracken Project
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings have produced a useful series of 35 Technical Q&As for maintaining and protecting old buildings.
Natural England Natural England has some useful design guidance such as CA181-Signs on Access land in England: Guidance for access authorities, sign design guide but do remember that access legislation is different in England.

They also provide an article on pastoral systems called Pastoralism and it’s value in preserving the cultural heritage in Scotland.

Natural England provide information about Hedges.  They’ve developed a resource called Hedgelink to promote the better understanding and protection of hedgerows across the UK. This includes useful information on surveying hedges, primary focused on biodiversity.

Heritage paths in Scotland This is a website hosted by the Scottish Rights of Way and Access Society and lists nearly 300 historic routes in Scotland.
Scottish Natural Heritage SNH have a wide range of publications on Access as well as useful articles on Interpretation.  The Access Codes for Scotland are also available online.
Historic Scotland Historic Scotland has considerable experience in presenting sites to the public and may be able to offer grants towards the cost of presentation.

Historic Scotland’s conservation guides and in particular the INFORM guides give good technical information on maintaining traditional buildings.  Maintaining your home provides good practice principles suitable for maintaining traditional farm buildings.

Historic Scotland also provide valuable information on climate change.

In 2004 HS produced a guidance note on The Control of Vegetation on Scheduled Monuments and other Important Archaeological Sites.

Historic environment and cultural landscapes A useful webpage created by Natural England.
HELM English Heritage have produced an excellent and extensive range of guidance for land managers.

Englis Heritage also provide useful information on climate change.