Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland

Skills Collections Trainee: A Variety of Learning

Name: Gillian Rodger

What do you do?
I am a Heritage Lottery Funded Skills for the Future Collections Trainees at RCAHMS.

How did you get here?
As a creative youngster I’ve had a fascination with visiting and photographing historic places and objects as long as I can remember. Though I grew up near Chester, my family are all Scottish and having enjoyed many childhood summers exploring the Scottish countryside and going to various Historic sites, I’ve long since wanted to move to Scotland, to promote and get involved with maintaining Scottish Heritage.

Working on John Marshall Material at my Desk

Working on John Marshall Material at my Desk

Unsurprisingly then during my Art History undergrad I turned towards researching Medieval Art and objects and on returning to Edinburgh for my masters I became focused particularly on aspects of Global Material Culture and Collection Histories, whilst also collaborating with the NMS and interned on the Carved Stones Project with RCAHMS. Getting to apply and earning the chance to work as a skills trainee at RCAHMS felt like the perfect opportunity to combine my personal and academic interests whilst enabling me to gain greater experience in the Heritage Sector and in Collections.

What are you working on today?
Today, as is usual for skills trainees, I have been involved with a variety of different activities! I have been on the search room desk this morning, answering enquiries, aiding visitors with their research and hearing some brilliant family stories.

In between enquiries I’ve also started researching the sculptor John Marshall (1888-1952) in order to catalogue a fascinating box of his material for public access.

John Marshall box of material

John Marshall box of material

So far within the box I have discovered his sketchbook of sculpture from 1911, a worldwide picture postcard album and many photographs of himself and colleagues dressed for an ECA Revel Party, including Sir Robert Lorimer. This afternoon I have also been finishing organising and re-housing many excellent Threatened Buildings Survey Drawings completed by RCAHMS survey staff .

Favourite part of your job?
I would say the favourite aspect of my job is in fact the variety of activities we do during the placement. For example, so far outwit our varied ongoing collections work programme; I have been on placement at the National Galleries, attended heritage/medieval conferences, visited the outreach trainees on placement, worked with conservation on re-housing collections and done digital accessioning [see pictures]. In the next month I will also be invigilating at the RCAHMS Commonwealth pavilion for the Sightlines film, working with the NCAP team and beginning work with the other trainees on our big showcase project at Stirling Castle!

As such our job gives us the opportunity to learn lots of different skills, figure out my own strengths and interests, meet a variety of fascinating people and contribute to the work of the commission and Heritage in Scotland in various ways! So yes, getting the chance to have constant variety and new challenges in my work is fantastic.

What did university not teach you?
Despite Art History being a visual degree primarily focused on specific objects or artworks, there is a surprising lack of requirement to actually see and handle the tangible material one is researching, and for much of my art historic research I only utilised photographs, drawings or witnessed objects in their museum setting.

When I began to handle historical objects and material collections and research their collection histories for my work here, I was shocked at how little I had previously appreciated the benefit of having a tangible experience with collections. Not only this, but also just how important that form of first-hand experience can be for producing the best personal and academic research. For example, the scale, exceptional detail or even makers marks on collection material are rarely comprehensible from a photograph alone!

After this realisation I have and will certainly continue to be, an advocate for the promotion of access to original collection material and collections histories where possible, and hope I can continue working and promoting such values within Scottish Heritage beyond this traineeship!

To see a vine of my day, click here

In Search of Rocks and Stones

Name: George Geddes

What do you do?
I’m an Archaeological Investigator with RCAHMS

How did you get here? 
I started with a BSc at Edinburgh followed by a few years on the Scottish digging circuit. An MA at York in 2003-4 focussing on the archaeology of buildings in the Western Isles led to five years at Headland Archaeology as their building surveyor. In 2007, I took up the post as St Kilda Archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland, which led to an interest in conservation management planning. In 2008, I moved to RCAHMS to work on a range of archaeological survey projects.

What are you working on today? 
Today I am splitting my work over a series of projects: as aerial survey forms part of my work, I am interpreting and cataloguing photographs of cropmarks taken in the Lunan valley last year, an area where a whole archaeological landscape of multiple periods survives under modern land use.

Later in the day I will continue researching the work of Gordon Childe with RCAHMS from 1942 to 1946 and digitising the photographs, notes and sketch plans he made on about 700 sites during the war, so that they can be viewed on Canmore.

Gordon Childe, a Commissioner at RCAHMS for 4 years, in Edinburgh.

Gordon Childe, a Commissioner at RCAHMS for 4 years, in Edinburgh.

We are also producing a new book on St Kilda’s archaeology, surveyed by RCAHMS in 1983-6 and 2007-9, and I am researching and writing the chapters for the 19th and 20th century, exploring new approaches to the sites and their wider context.

My most recent fieldwork has been a re-survey of the fort at Finavon, and the discovery of a whole new and significant phase, and a trip to the Flannan Isles, where a medieval chapel and seabird hunters bothies survive – for both, I will begin the drafting of our detailed descriptions.

Favourite part of your job? 
In comparison to project manager, the job title ‘investigator’ seems so old-fashioned but the Ordnance Survey and RCAHMS used it for many years as it describes so well the process of critically engaging with the archaeological landscapes and collections in Scotland. Whether it is getting to grips with complex earthworks at Finavon, or teasing together the evidence of how we have got where we are today in interpretation, the focus at work is so often on that process of investigation.  When this process is coupled with a good old sense of ‘public service’, it can be very productive and rewarding.

What did university not teach you? 
While University was fantastic at providing a broad overview, and the opportunity to share and develop ideas, it did not provide an adequate grasp of either fieldwork skills (excluding excavation) nor of the character of Scotland’s field archaeology. While this can to some extent be learnt simply by tramping round sites on one’s own, as so many of us have done, the advantages of doing this more intensively (i.e. looking at everything within a study area), and with experienced colleagues, makes a huge difference. When one considers that RCAHMS has had staff in a similar post to myself since 1908 (initially in fact, the only staff), there has been a huge amount of accumulated organisational experience, passed on from generation to generation (this can include bad habits too!).

The chapel and lighthouse on the Flannan Isles

The chapel and lighthouse on the Flannan Isles

Surprising part of your job? 

George thinks his colleagues are surprising...

George thinks his colleagues are surprising…

The colleagues! No seriously, I’m surprised that there is still so much investigative work to do in Scotland. Though we are really far ahead of most countries in the world in having more than a century of relatively coherent and structured fieldwork (by many individuals and bodies) behind us, resulting in a fantastic collection not to mention an ever-improving sense of the past, great swathes of the country still require thorough field survey, to support research, planning and to enable the public to engage with the past. This national project, when combined with an excellent and robust system of planning-led archaeology, and community archaeology, must surely be the envy of many countries.

Top tips for aspiring archaeologists?  Earn a fortune in something else and then self-fund excavations and surveys in the land of your dreams (i.e North Rona).

Colleagues on North Rona

Colleagues on North Rona


Day in the life of a Public Services Officer

Name: Joe Waterfield

What do you do? I am a Public Services Officer, this means that I help people to find and use items in our collections. I issue licences for the use of material and I work out where the items can be found physically and digitally.

RCAHMS Search Room

The open access photo boxes in the search room. Loads of architectural and archaeological photographs from around Scotland. Anyone can come and have a look at these, maybe you can see your house!

How did you get here? I studied history at university and since graduating I have been working in the heritage sector.

What are you working on today? Today I have sent a reporter some photographs from the Buildings at Risk Register to use in a newspaper article, I have talked to a librarian about using SCRAN images in a display, and I have supplied RCAHMS GIS data that will be used as part of a collaborative research project.

Favourite part of your job? My favourite part of the job is the sheer breadth of people and objects it puts me in touch with. One day I could be collecting photos of buildings designed by James Salmon for a public exhibition, another day I could be helping a customer access a photograph of a relative.

What did university not teach you? I used archives as a researcher when studying at university, but I had not experienced working in archives ‘behind the scenes’. Requesting a particular document is a completely different kettle of fish to actually trying to find that document, especially in a collection as diverse as the items held by RCAHMS.

Click here to see a vine of my day!

 

A Grand Day Out

6.30am

Yahoo! Today I, Angela Gannon, have a day in the field to look at some strange earthworks in southwest Scotland with my two former bosses, Roger Mercer and Strat Halliday. Both have now retired so today I’m in charge! For me, it’s great to get back to the day job as an archaeological field investigator and a welcome escape from meetings, merger discussions and writing my contribution for our book on St Kilda. I normally leave for work at this time so it’s not an early start. And today I can wear my favourite colour (bright pink) and do a bit of PR for Dig It 2015!

Dig It 2015!

Dig It 2015!

The first few spots of rain begin to hit the windscreen as I head to the Newbridge roundabout.

6.55am

First stop, Straiton P&R just off the Edinburgh City by-pass to pick up Roger. He’s waiting for me so his bus connections have worked perfectly. Off down the A701 now to collect Strat and complete today’s ensemble. Think we will be early…

7.15am

Arrived at Strat’s and as predicted we’re about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. After a concentrated effort to ‘complete his ablutions’ and transfer his wellies and waterproofs from his own car to ours, we’re on the road again. Still on the A701 heading to Moffat then onto Dumfries for our first stop at an earthwork called The Orchard, Snade (NX88NE 3). The rain is persistent now.

So what are we up to today? Well we have four sites on our hit list, all of which are novelties in the archaeological record and which we hope will provide some context for Over Rig, Eskdalemuir, a site Roger excavated in 1984 and 1985, and is writing up for publication (NY29SW 8). I was a site supervisor during the 1985 season – indeed this was my first paid employment as an archaeologist – and my memories are not so much of the multiple banks and ditches of a strange D-shaped enclosure and its unusual setting in a natural amphitheatre, but of 36 inches of rain in 9 weeks. While it may not have dampened spirits at the time, it certainly made me realise that excavation in Scotland (even in the summer!) had limited appeal, and that a career in field survey was a better option. I may still get wet but at least I’d have clean fingernails!

9.10am

By some masterful map reading – not a skill many people acquire in these days of satellite navigation systems – we arrive at the cottage nearest to The Orchard. Permission granted and we leave the car. Better get those waterproofs on.

10.15am

On site now with discussions ranging from location, topography, nearest known monuments, scale of the ditches and banks, visibility to and from the central platform… Certainly, its location in a watery hollow is similar to Over Rig and it has multiple banks and ditches but…Time to get out the trusted 30m tape and take a few measurements.

Having been part of the project team that introduced a Thesaurus of Monument Type to index and aid retrieval of all sites and monuments, all be it a few years ago now, I still maintain an interest in classification and I’m passionate about standards and consistency of approach – sad really. So I’m keen to improve those for the sites we’re looking at today. And if we can reach a consensus about their dates or periods even better as this will contribute to the work we’re undertaking on a Period/Timeline thesaurus.

A grand day out 4 July 2014 003

On site discussions

11.30am

A comfort break in a garden centre on the outskirts of Dumfries with enough time for a quick coffee (and a scone with butter and jam – well we deserve it, don’t we?).

12.25pm

Arrived at Auchenhay Bridge (NX77NE 1), another curious site with triple banks and intervening ditches, classified currently as a settlement. Marshy location but the scale is very different from The Orchard. Hmmm – would be surprised if the two were of the same date and function and would be equally surprised if this was a settlement. But the orchids love the damp location and surprisingly we are still smiling in the rain.

 

2pm

Lunch in the farmyard at Trowdale before we set off to look at Trowdale Mote (NX76NE 1).

A grand day out 4 July 2014 020

Lunch in the farmyard

2.30pm

There are similarities between Trowdale and Auchenhay Bridge in terms of scale, watery location and abundance of orchids, though here the remains comprise two ditches with a medial bank and central platform. Little wonder the site is classified as earthwork. How do we improve on this, if at all?

View of site

View of site

4pm

Pict’s Knowe, the last site of the day (NX97SE 13), and one that was excavated by Professor Julian Thomas between 1994 and 1997. This conforms to a classic henge in so far as it has a bank with internal ditch and central platform. Its location is different from the other sites on our list today, being on the valley floor with open views. Well worth another look, but is it similar to the others? I suspect not.

The cattle trampled causeway across the ditch at Pict’s Knowe

The cattle trampled causeway across the ditch at Pict’s Knowe

4.50pm

Back to the car and heading home. No orchids here but I do love the thistles.

5.50pm

Annandale Arms Hotel, Moffat. The driver (me!) requests a comfort break and a revitalising cup of coffee. Home is now in sight.

 

Coffee for three!

Coffee for three!

8.45pm

Home at last. Dropped off Strat and Roger and deposited the car back at the office. Job done! A long day, yes, a rewarding day, of course, but are we any the wiser? I do hope so. My priority now, however, is a hot bath and a stiff G&T. Perhaps I’ll be indulgent that have the two together. But I bet I’ll have dried out before my socks!

My wet socks!

My wet socks!

 

Looking at castles for a living

Name: William Wyeth

What do you do?
I’m a PhD student based jointly at RCAHMS and Stirling University, researching Scotland’s early stone castles.

Castle Tioram Highland

Castle Tioram Highland

Part of my work as a PhD student includes visits to sites like Castle Tioram, where I help with the surveying of sites and learn how to read the masonry of castles to interpret different phases of construct.

How did you get here?
I am from London and have always been interested in pre-modern warfare. At university I studied Roman history, after which I tried my hand in various jobs before deciding on heritage and archaeology. I took a fixed-term position as an Education & Outreach trainee at RCAHMS; during this time I developed an interest in Scottish history, especially the Wars of Independence period, which led to me applying for this PhD position.

What are you working on today?
I am working on developing the questions I want to answer by looking at the evidence available to me. All research requires a lot of reading and thinking, so quite a lot of time is spent reading something which will likely never appear in the final work, but which triggers ideas and theories which may play a role further down the line.

Here I am in my office at RCAHMS, where I spend the large majority of my time. I spend my time reading books, working through a large database of sites and writing. A PhD is a long and uncertain journey, so it’s nice to have two office mates, Iain and Miriam, to keep me company!

Here I am in my office at RCAHMS, where I spend the large majority of my time. I spend my time reading books, working through a large database of sites and writing. A PhD is a long and uncertain journey, so it's nice to have two office mates, Iain and Miriam, to keep me company!

My Desk

Favourite part of your job?
Site visits! It is quite difficult to grasp a site in its entirety without either having a solid plan and bank of photographs, or a comprehensive site visit. These also give you a much better grasp of the area in which the castle sits, an element as important as the castle itself.

Recently I went on a sightseeing tour of castle sites in the Highlands. Given that many castles are located in important communication routes or well-defended locations, it’s unsurprising that some castles have been replaced by later buildings, as at Ruthven.

Lag tower was a spontaneous discovery while on fieldwork. A delay one morning meant I was able to walk in the countryside nearby; I saw an abandoned farmstead, an iron age fort and Lag Tower (marked as Tower House on the Ordinance Survey map of the area). It’s a well-preserved 16th-c tower atop a small steep mound.

Top tips for aspiring archaeologists?
I am not an archaeologist by training, but my experience of site visits with surveyors at RCAHMS has taught me two things; firstly, consider the setting of the site: where is it located in relation to everything around it? How might things have been different? The second tip is to be aware of the impact of earlier people in trying to restore or conserve structures or sites; sometimes their understanding of the site might not always be accurate.

My Day as a Collections Care Assistant

Name: Alison Clark

What do you do?

Collections Care Assistant is my job title. It’s a catch all phrase including aspects of collections management and preservation (i.e. making sure items are stored correctly, liaising with conservation colleagues about items which may need some extra care, returning items to the archive after members of the public have had a look at them and a bit of location control to make sure nothing gets lost amongst the millions of items we hold). That’s what I’ve been up to so far and I only started in June so it’s been a busy few weeks!

How did you get here?

With a lot of luck I was in the previous round of the Skills for the Future Trainees (2013-14). When my training contract finished I had already applied for an internal position with Historic Scotland in the Publications and Interpretation department. In addition to this I was offered a job with the National Collection of Aerial Photography via a temping agency so when the Collections Care Assistant post was advertised internally I was eligible to apply. For me this has worked out perfectly. I enjoy a very varied working week and I also get to experience a number of different areas within the wider heritage sector. Although I am not an archaeologist I do work with archaeological material very frequently, be it site drawings, excavation reports or as research material for publications.

Favourite part of your job?

After seeing the questions for these posts I have been pondering my answer for a while. Favourite part of the job…hmm…there a lot of different aspects I really enjoy within the work itself. Firstly every day is challenging and I appreciate the chance to give my brain a good work out with such interesting and diverse material. I’m constantly learning a lot about different periods in history, correct conservation methods and the different roles within the organisation. However, I’d have to say my favourite part of my job is all of the possibilities contained in the archive and the staff who work here. I love the fact that we are all working together to preserve other people’s life work so that the current and future generations can enjoy them, be inspired by them and also go on to do great things themselves.

What are you working on today?

Today I am catching up on a lot of filing. I was off with the flu so there’s quite a lot to catch up on…

What did university not teach you?

Somewhat unusually, I am not a graduate. I’d say it is unusual as most of the people I have encountered in the heritage world have a great deal of impressive qualifications. I have highers and some University study to my name but that’s it. I think work experience is incredibly valuable and an important thing to do before you decide what to study. For me leaving University when I did was the best decision I could have possibly made. I don’t think I’d be working for the Commission now if I had completed my degree. I wouldn’t be so passionate about my work and I wouldn’t be able to manage my time and responsibilities as adeptly as I do. University is great for some, but for others time away from education to decide what you enjoy and also discover what you are good at is the best option.

On archaeological archives, elbows and ladders…

Who: Lydia Fisher

What: I’m a Collections Access Officer in the  Collections Department at RCAHMS

How did you get here?
A BA in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University in Canada, museum volunteering, one plane ticket, two years at the British Geological Survey, and then an opportunity to work in heritage at RCAHMS, I’ve been here since 2006.

Lydia

Lydia

What are you working on today?
As a member of the Collections Department at RCAHMS, I help look after the archive of photographs, drawings, maps and manuscripts while also assisting with research enquiries in our public search room. Today I’m cataloguing, rehousing and creating a collections hierarchy for the personal notebooks, papers, correspondence and aerial photographs of the pioneering aerial archaeologist, geologist and Romanist J. Kenneth St Joseph of Cambridge University. He was instrumental in establishing Cambridge University’s Collection of Aerial Photographs (CUCAP) and in 1973 became Professor of Air Photographic Studies. His work has transformed our knowledge of the early history of Scotland through the identification of sites visible only from the air.  He wrote and lectured widely on the subject of aerial photography and archaeology, his particular interest being in Roman Britain.  The collections work that I am undertaking will assist in making the archive more accessible to researchers through our online catalogue Canmore.

Further information, photographs and drawings on these sites can be found on our online database Canmore: Ulston Moor and Inchtuthil

Published books available in our search room by JK St Joseph include Roman Britain from the Air (with S S Frere) (1983) and The Uses of Air Photography (1977). Roman Camps in Scotland (2011) by our very own Dr Rebecca Jones also refers to the JK St Joseph archive and the notebooks held at RCAHMS.

What did university not teach you?
Anything about architecture – it is a subject I have had to learn about from research enquiries, by cataloguing architectural drawings and from working with knowledgeable colleagues.

Surprising part of your job?
Working with collections material can be quite physical, so clothing needs to be practical (you are unlikely to find us in dainty dresses or heels) and it helps if you’re good with heights. I’ve become very adept at pushing buttons on doors and elevators with my elbow and paper cuts can be a common occupational hazard.


Indianahannah and the Desk Based Adventure

Name:  Hannah Smith

What do you do?
Currently I’m working on the Historic Land-use Assessment project. HLA is a joint project between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland. It is an analysis of the present landscape, recording the visible traces of past land-use across Scotland, and presenting it as a digital map. My day is spent in front of a computer, working with digital sources in a GIS. This suits me well, I was always a bit of a fair weather archaeologist!

How did you get here?
I studied Archaeology at Glasgow University, and then went on to complete a Masters in Professional Archaeology there as well. As a student, I volunteered as a placement supervisor on the Hungate site in York with York Archaeological Trust. Working with YAT gave me the best crash course in field archaeology I could have asked for. Although I think the biggest thing I took away was that I preferred to work indoors!!

Hungate

Dangerously close to that murky water!

I began volunteering as soon as I could, as I knew it would be difficult to find a job in archaeology. I volunteered with Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust after I graduated, helping their HER officer, and with various research projects. I was then really lucky to get an HLF workplace learning bursary in Information Management at RCAHMS in 2011.

What’s your background?
I’ve worked in various posts at RCAHMS since 2011. After completing my bursary in Information Management, I began working with the HLA project, before moving on to a data management role with Project Adair, and then working as Data and Standards officer within the Data and Recording section.

HLA mapping in progess

HLA mapping in progess

Favourite part of your job? 
I’ve enjoyed working on many different projects and in different sections at RCAHMS. It’s allowed me to gain a better understanding of all of the work undertaken by staff here. Also helping to produce our Day of Archaeology posts with staff is always a highlight.

Top tips for aspiring archaeologists?
Volunteer as much as you can.

Say yes. Even when you’re in a job, say yes to everything that comes your way.

Keep at it. Jobs are often few and far between, but you’ll be surprised at the range of archaeology jobs out there and the ways you can enter this field as a career.

Wish I hadn't said yes here, too many midges!

Wish I hadn’t said yes here, too many midges!

 

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!

 

Philip Graham (RCAHMS) – Western Isles

Philip Graham, RCAHMS

Philip Graham, RCAHMS

Western Isles ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

Western Isles ‘Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011’

The Standing Stones of Calanais

I’m Philip Graham, Public Engagement Manager at RCAHMS, responsible for letting people know about our work and for encouraging people to use our unique resources through an expanding series of lectures, group visits and tours, training and induction sessions, and events like Doors Open Day. A major part of my job is responsibility for our social media channels Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr so I get to work with the amazing range of images that we hold in our collections and on a daily basis share what we’re doing with the rest of the world.

Callanish. Copyright RCAHMS (taken by Philip Graham)

Callanish. Copyright RCAHMS (taken by Philip Graham)

Although I trained as an architect at the University of Edinburgh my job enables me to immerse myself in the whole spectrum of the built heritage, including archaeology and industry. The #MyArchaeology site I’ve chosen is the extraordinary Standing Stones of Calanais (or Callanish) in Lewis, part of a landscape dating back 5,000 years.

I was lucky enough to visit Calanais as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund project I worked on a few years ago called Recording Your Heritage Online which worked with community groups across the country to share their information and images with us to make them more widely available; now through MyCanmore people can upload their images and information directly into our website. The project also worked with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland to produce four books in their popular series of Illustrated Architectural Guides.

Aerial view taken in 2004. Copyright RCAHMS (SC1023422)

Aerial view taken in 2004. Copyright RCAHMS (SC1023422)

Our aerial view shows the full extent of the stone circle. At the heart of this cross-shaped setting stands a solitary monolith 4.8m high with lines of smaller stones radiating south, east and west and an 83m avenue running from the north. Surrounded by the stone circle is a chambered tomb.

View of stone circle at Callanish, Lewis. Titled 'Druidical Circle at Callernish in the Island of Lewis, N. Hebrides. G. R. Mackarness , July 1866.' Copyright RCAHMS (DP094025)

View of stone circle at Callanish, Lewis.
Titled ‘Druidical Circle at Callernish in the Island of Lewis, N. Hebrides. G. R. Mackarness , July 1866.’ Copyright RCAHMS (DP094025)

 

 

The stones are nicely depicted in this sketch drawn in July 1866 by GR Mackarness who was an antiquarian and the Vicar of Ilam in Derbyshire, taken from the book ‘Views in Scotland’.

 

 

 

 

The fact that no one definitively knows what the purpose of this site was adds to its mystery. Some have argued that it was built for ritual or astronomical reasons, and you may have some ideas of your own!

There are loads more great images of the Standing Stones of Calanais on our websites:

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/4156/

http://www.scran.ac.uk/database/results.php?search_term=Callanish

http://aerial.rcahms.gov.uk/database/results.php?search_term=Calanais

Find out what we’re up to by following RCAHMS on:

https://twitter.com/rcahms

https://www.facebook.com/rcahms

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rcahms/

http://www.youtube.com/rcahms

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.