A Day with Dig It! 2017: LEGO, Ale and Dragons

How would I describe an average day with Dig It! 2017? I don’t think that exists. Let’s just start with today…

Full disclosure: I’m not an archaeologist (“booo, hiss, get off the stage”). I’m the Communications Officer at Dig It! 2017, the year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology. I HAVE been on a dig, so you can’t kick me out, right? And anyway, archaeology is for everybody!

What is Dig It! 2017? We take all of the amazing events that happens across this sector and pull it into one big (continually changing) programme. We have 75 events on the website at the moment, which range from excavations to LEGO – most are free and all of them are open to the public.

Dig It! 2017 Website

Dig It! 2017 Event Listing

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Celebrating Scottish Archaeology!

As a bit of a disclaimer, this post will not include any well-worn trowels, muddy boots, ancient artefacts, swarms of midges, or ugly jumpers. This post will, however, feature some Victorian silliness, Lego archaeologists, and an exclusive look at what it’s like to spend a year celebrating Scotland’s past with Dig It! 2015!

Dig It! 2015, co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland, is all about demonstrating that archaeology really is for everyone. In addition to gathering learning resources, supporting organisations and creating bespoke events, we’ve developed a programme of hundreds of activities, from ‘traditional’ outdoor digs and museum exhibitions, to more unexpected events, such as theatre performances, music festivals and Minecraft sessions.

Victorian Sensation _ Dig It! 2015

Having a bit of fun at the ‘Photography: A Victorian Sensation’ exhibition

The Dig It! 2015 team is pretty small, but we have an extra member today, as one of our fantastic volunteers has joined us! Nuria Lopez, has been volunteering with us to research and analyse lifelong learning options in archaeology in Scotland. We used our lunch break to bring Nuria along to the ‘Photography: A Victorian Sensation’ exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, where we encountered the pioneers of photography. Of course, this excellent exhibition isn’t complete without a few silly shots.

After returning to the office, we settled back into our work. We recently ran an archaeology, art and photography competition with Forestry Commission Scotland, called Dig Art! 2015, and we’re now sorting out all of the amazing entries. One of the prizes for our promotional mini-competitions was personalised Lego characters, and we’re very excited to use the Day of Archaeology to premiere three new mini-members of the Dig It! 2015 Lego team! We’ll be mailing out these tiny archaeologists over the next couple of days – two within Scotland and one to Australia!

Lego Winners _ Dig It! 2015

Tiny archaeologists strike a pose (Image credit: Stephen Reid)

These pink Dig It! 2015 t-shirts (as seen in our #VictorianSensation photo) have naturally become the must-have fashion item of 2015 and we love it when they appear in our inbox or on social media. Photos have come from exotic locations such as Ethiopia, the United States, Cyprus and Dundee. The latest photo arrived last night from the Ness of Brodgar in Orkney (featured on the cover of National Geographic last year). Jenna Ward, a yearly volunteer at the dig and archaeology Masters student, braved the cold July weather to brighten things up a bit. Thanks, Jenna!

Jenna Ward _ Dig It! 2015

Dig It! 2015 popping up at the Ness of Brodgar

Finally, we’ll be sending copies of our new programmes to the Scottish Borders. The wonderful Borders Heritage Festival is featured in the programmes, and they have requested a few copies of their own. These programmes provide a taster of events happening throughout the country from July to December, and are also available throughout Scotland in places such as libraries, train stations, cinemas and airports.

Time to get back to answering all of your lovely emails, promoting activities, researching lifelong learning courses, coordinating events, and sifting through amazing Dig Art! 2015 entries. Hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes tour. If you’d like to know more about Dig It! 2015, or get involved, please visit www.digit2015.com.

Dig It! 2015 Programmes

Dig It! 2015 programmes are ready to go


How to Tell Scotland’s Stories in Just Twelve Months

It’s a busy day here in the Dig It! 2015 office and we can’t wait to share it with you. Just because we’re in an office and not knee deep in mud, doesn’t mean that our jobs are any less exciting! Trust me.

OpeningIn case you haven’t heard of us, Dig It! 2015 is a year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology, co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and Archaeology Scotland. Two fantastic organisations, which are definitely worth checking out.

From kids taking over museums, and people exploring the story of their own local area, to digs, festivals, competitions, there are so many ways for people to get involved. We will also be exploring our past through song, art, performance and story-telling. It will be exciting, fun, grassroots and messy – just like archaeology and archaeologists.

But somebody has to set it all up! This means that the Dig It! 2015 team is always running around, meeting with organisations and individuals and coming up with fantastical new ideas to celebrate Scottish archaeology. Yup, “fantastical”. You heard me.

Today, wGlasgowe started off by catching up from yesterday’s meeting in Glasgow. Two members of the team met with a Scots Language Development Officer at Education Scotland to discuss how they could get involved in Dig It! 2015.  The resulting idea was the “Archaeology of Language” using two of our themes – Identities and Arrivals – to explore how the people who have settled in Scotland have left their mark on our language, through the words we use, the placenames we have and even our own surnames. 

We also have a very interesting meeting next week, where we will start to combine archaeology with gaming, so we made sure that everyone was caught up on all of the details. This could be a great way to engage with young people who might not have thought about archaeology before now. What will come from the meeting? A game? An app? A lecture? Who knows!?

Summerhall

For lunch, we walked through the Meadows to Summerhall, which is a creative hub for the arts. We’re currently working with various artists and theatre companies, and we are always looking to add something new to the programme. Again, this is a great way to engage with new audiences. After all, archaeology is for everyone!

Finally, we booked our tickets to Orkney. Orkney is pretty much bursting at the seams with Scottish archaeology, so we can’t wait to visit! We’ll be meeting with various organisations in order to find out what we can do for them. By helping them to raise awareness of their efforts, these organisations should be able to reach a wider audience, which will enable them to continue their important work.

Then it was time to head out, but even on our days off, we always have our eyes open for any potential project tie-ins. On Sunday, for example, one of our team members will be hosting an archaeology Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. An archaeologist’s work is never done!

If any of you would like to get involved with Dig It! 2015, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@digit2015.com. It’s going to be a great year!