Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project

Waves hitting the coastal defence below Crail Castle, Fife

Coastal erosion threatens thousands of archaeological sites around the coast. The Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project builds upon a series of Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys  – sponsored by Historic Scotland since 1996. To date, the surveys have recorded over 12,000 sites, together with information on geology, geomorphology and the erosional state of the coast on the day of the survey. The data has been analysed by the SCAPE Trust and the School of History, resulting in a prioritised list of sites requiring action. However, the dynamic nature of the coast means that the condition of sites may have changed since the original survey was undertaken. Some sites have been lost while previously unrecorded sites have been exposed. There is a need to get up- to- date information, especially the high-priority archaeological sites that are most at risk of destruction.

The project

Local communities have a vital role to play in updating information and reporting change, and SCAPE and the School of History developed Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project so that we could involve people to effectively tackle this important national issue. Using mobile phone apps or web-based recording forms, citizen scientists are easily able to report discoveries and send images.

The SCHARP app

The SCHARP app

Our philosophy is that eroding coastal heritage provides opportunities for anyone to enjoy and benefit from taking part in archaeological and historical exploration and discovery, and as well as updating the national record, ShoreDig projects are being set up around the coast. The project team work with communities to establish project at locally-valued sites. Work to date includes undertaking excavations at sites exposed on beaches, recording shipwrecks in the intertidal zone, and even moving an entire site from a beach to a heritage centre. To learn more about the project, visit the project website or keep up-to-date on facebook or twitter.

The Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, The Crown Estate and the University of St Andrews

Project website: