Headland Archaeology LTD .

Mapping the Archaeology of Scotland

Name: Mike Middleton

What do you do? 
I make archaeological maps. I work in the data section meaning I work with three RCAHMS maps:

  • Canmore (the index to the RCAHMS collection) which to me is lots of distribution maps all in one. Filtering Canmore can help us map regionality.

Defining Scotland's Places - Roman

How did you get here? 
I studied Archaeology at Glasgow then went to France where my wife and I busked and volunteered on archaeological sites for a while before I got a job as a field archaeologist with the French state archaeology service (AFAN – Now INRAP). After seven years I returned to Scotland where I worked freelance for a bit before becoming a manager with Headland Archaeology Ltd. in Edinburgh. I joined RCAHMS in 2008.

Mike digging in France

Mike digging in France

Favourite part of your job? 
The favourite part of my job is the sense of discovery. I interact with the data in Canmore a lot meaning I’m always learning new things but by far the best part of my job is when we get out into the field and visit sites. That’s when you really get to learn about sites and landscapes.

What did university not teach you?
How to dig. I learnt that in Yorkshire volunteering on the Heslerton Parish Project. Thank you Dominic Powlesland!

Top tips for aspiring archaeologists?
Volunteer for everything…experience counts!

Dig as much as you can while at university.

Dig as much as you can after university.

Make sure you have other strings to our bow for when your knees go!

 

Kayleigh Russell and Louise Rogers (RCAHMS) – Clackmannanshire

The Skills for the Future Trainees, RCAHMS

The Skills for the Future Trainees, RCAHMS

Clackmannanshire. ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

Clackmannanshire. ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

As Collections Trainees we tend not to deal directly with archaeology in the conventional sense. We do, however, get to work with the archives created by archaeological units. We recently worked on the material created by the programme of excavations and buildings recordings for the Upper Forth Crossing in 2006 by Headland Archaeology Ltd. The Upper Forth Crossing is now known as the Clackmannanshire Bridge which links Falkirk to Clackmannanshire.

A typical archaeological archive consists of items such as photographs, slides, drawings, reports and site notes. Before cataloguing the Upper Forth Crossing material deposited at RCAHMS we organised the archive into order by project and area. We then worked our way through the deposited material separating the different types of media and re-housing it.

© RCAHMS

Copyright RCAHMS by K Russell, Collections Trainee.

© RCAHMS

Copyright RCAHMS by L Rogers, Collections Trainee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While doing this we also read through some of the reports and site notes to get more information on the projects to add to the catalogue entries and to get a better understanding of the excavations for the crossing. We found the investigations into the remains of Garlet House, Kilbagie were particularly interesting.

Garlet House was a 17th century house for a local Laird which had been demolished in 1964. Looking through the photographs in the archive we could see the progress of the excavations. Before the excavation the site looked like an overgrown field, but very quickly the house was uncovered.

© Headland Archaeology Ltd

© Headland Archaeology Ltd (UFC05-GLT001a)

As the dig progressed some of the features of the house became visible again.

Copyright Headland Archaeology Ltd (100_0043)

Copyright Headland Archaeology Ltd (100_0043)

Copyright Headland Archaeology Ltd (100_0043.)

Copyright Headland Archaeology Ltd (100_0043.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more about the site we looked up the site record for Garlet House on Canmore and we were able to see some of the images of the house prior to demolition and compare them to the photographs taken on the excavation in 2006.

© Headland Archaeology Ltd

Copyright Headland Archaeology Ltd (100_0041.)

Gartlet House in the 1940’s © RCAHMS

Garlet House in the 1940’s Copyright RCAHMS (SC1167941)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through the archaeological archive and the images and plans held at RCAHMS we were able to get a sense of the development of the site from its original design to alterations through the years, even after its demolition.

If you would like to find out more about the collections held on Canmore or the Skills for the Future programme visit our blog or Twitter @SkillsRCAHMS.

 This is what I’ve chosen for Day of Archaeology, but why not tell us your favourite archaeological sites in Scotland on Twitter using #MyArchaeology.