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20th Year Of Highland Archaeology Festival

23rd September 2013

Photograph of 20th Year Of Highland Archaeology Festival

Treasure trove of events on offer as 20th year of Highland Archaeology Festival is launched.

The programme for the Highland Archaeology Festival, which this year celebrates its twentieth year, has been launched with a bumper line-up of events taking place across the Highlands. The fortnight-long Festival, which is co-ordinated by The Highland Councils Planning and Development Service in partnership with dozens of local event organisers, will run from 28th September to 13th October, with over 100 walks, talks, exhibitions and special activities aimed at local people and visitors.

Chairman of the Councils Planning, Environment and Development Committee, Councillor Thomas Prag was at the prehistoric cemetery, Clava Cairns with its three well-preserved burial cairns near the Culloden Battlefield site to launch the Festival. He said: said: Im delighted to be back in a place we visited a lot when my children were younger as we had great times exploring this special atmospheric spot and imaging all the people, who over the centuries, had also come to see the stone circles and spent time here. The Highland Archaeology Festival was started up in 1994 on a very small scale to spotlight the rich archaeological heritage of the Highlands. Since these small beginnings, it has evolved into a major event attracting over 5,000 participants a year.

The programme has something for everyone, regardless of their existing knowledge of archaeology or whether their interest is in prehistoric times or WWII. This years events include fun activities for children, short and longer walks through beautiful scenery to see ancient remains, guided cycle rides to historic sites, enjoyable talks and exhibitions, and the popular annual two-day Festival conference where people can find out about the latest discoveries and research by archaeologists in the Highlands. As ever, we are extremely grateful to all the organisations, large and small, across the Highlands who work with us to offer these fantastic events.

The Festival conference this year will be in The Highland Councils headquarters in Inverness. Sessions include a special look at the post-excavation findings from the important archaeological digs which took place prior to housing development at Culduthel, Inverness, as well as talks about Bronze Age burial sites on Skye and at Fortrose; a Viking burial at Ardnamurchan; the Fortrui Pictish Project in Easter Ross; and the medieval burgh of Cromarty.

Events this year include:

Caithness: a walk to the pre-clearance village of Broubster; a walk to the Iron and Bronze Age remains at the Wag of Forse; a historical cooking session for children at Caithness Horizons; and a look at the broch and chambered cairns of Dunbeath Strath; and a chance to work alongside professional archaeologists and get your hands dirty at the excavation of Warehouse chambered cairns.

Sutherland: an exhibition themed on the people listed on the Kyle of Sutherlands four war memorials; a walk to the Ceannabeinne township in Durness where local women made a stand against their landlord during the Highland Clearances; a series of events and mini-excavations exploring the prehistory of the Assynt area; a walk exploring the archaeology and history of the Kyle of Tongue; an event for children exploring the tales and traditions of the Ledmore and Migdale cairns near Dornoch; and a walk at Strathy to see the Pictish Priests Stone and Rocking Stone.

Ross & Cromarty: a Pictish-themed tour of Edderton; a one-day exhibition and a talk about Evantons wartime remains; walks to discover prehistoric remains around Gairloch, Ullapool and Achiltibuie; an exhibition about the Wedigs roundhouses excavation project in Wester Ross; a community archaeology project exhibition at Gairloch Heritage Museum; a Bronze Age crafting day at North Kessock suitable for everyone including children; a walk to the Fyrish Folly above Evanton, a photographic exhibition at Nigg about the technical requirements behind the spectacular new display of the Pictish Nigg cross-slab; an archaeological bike ride exploring lesser-known archaeological sites on the Black Isle; walks to chambered cairns on the Black Isle and near Dingwall; special childrens events at the Highland Museum of Childhood at Strathpeffer; a walk round the policies of Castle Leod near Strathpeffer, and a Strathpeffer archaeological walk; a walk exploring the archaeology of the Inverewe Estate from the Iron Age to WWII; guided walks to Telfords Canal in Dingwall and the Telford pier at Redcastle on the Black Isle; guided tours around the WWII anti-aircraft sites of Loch Ewe and of RAF Fearn; and an exploration of Kirkmichael Kirk (Udale Bay).

Inverness: a special exhibition in Inverness Museum about Scottish solar and lunar archaeology; a tour of the Clava Cairns focusing on the significance to the site of the sun, moon and ancestors; an exploration of the chambered cairn at Corrimony (Glen Urquhart) and the Gaelic folklore associated with it; a talk and display about railways in the Highlands at the Highland Archive Centre; a talk and private tour of Culloden Battlefield; a special behind-the-scenes glimpse at the archaeological objects held in Inverness Museums reserve collections; a look at the Highland Jacobite industrial past of the Drumnadrochit area; a step back in time to find out the story of the Caledonian Canal locks and basis at Muirtown, Inverness; a look at life in prehistoric Aigas; a make-your-own prehistoric pot session for children at Inverness Museum; a walk through Tomnahurich Cemetery, Inverness; a tour of the Clava Cairns with Indiana Bones; a chance to meet the Treasure Trove Scotland team at Inverness Museum and find out about their work; a walk through the archaeological landscape on the braes above Beauly; a wargames fair at Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre; and a free drop-in family art workshop at Inverness Museum where you can create your own embossed metal portrait using medieval and contemporary techniques.

Nairn: a talk on the efforts of a recent working party to help with the conservation of St Kilda.

Badenoch & Strathspey: a history-themed tour of Tor Alvie near Aviemore; a walk to the impressive Dun da Lamh Iron Age site near Laggan; special events at the Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore; a talk about Andrew Carnegie and the Macpherson connection at the Clan Macpherson Museum, Newtonmore; and a walk through the old townships and farming landscapes of Glen Banchor.

Lochaber: a walk exploring the archaeology of Glen Nevis; a guided walk looking at the history of Fort William and Inverlochy; and a walk to the remote Bealach na Gaoithe (Glenuig) to see some unusual shielings.

Skye & Lochalsh: a special fun childrens event looking at the times when bears roamed Scotland and wolves howled in the coires; a walk focusing on using place-names to understand the archaeology and history of a landscape (Camasunary); a guided walk looking at the Little Jacobite Rising of 1719 and the Battle of Glenshiel; an Historic Plockton village tour; a guided walk to the Falls of Glomach; and a ramble around the ancient sites of the Balmacara Estate.

Full details of these and other events can be found in the Highland Archaeology Festival brochure available from local libraries, museums, visitor information centres and Council service points or downloadable HERE