Dr Tom Dawson
Tom Dawson

Tom Dawson

Contact Details

E-mail - tcd@st-andrews.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 467172
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews




Research Interests

Tom Dawson is a Research Fellow working on the archaeology of the coast and the threats posed by coastal processes. He has been the Managing Director of SCAPE (Scottish Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) since 2001; a Commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) since 2010; and a Member of Council of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland since 2012. He was a director of the Bardsey Island Trust from 2002- 2008; and is a member of the Scottish Oceans Institute.

Tom works closely with Historic Scotland to gather information on the scale of the problem around Scotland and has managed the recent programme of Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys. He has analyzed results from previous surveys and has created a system for prioritizing action at eroding sites. Tom has a strong interest in community archaeology and promoting archaeology as widely as possible. He manages the Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP) which works with the public to monitor eroding sites using mobile technology. He also manages the award-winning Shorewatch Project and has managed numerous survey projects and several long-running community excavations, including Unst and Bressay on Shetland, Baile Sear and Loch Paible in the Western Isles and Brora in Sutherland. Tom has explored novel ways of working with threatened archaeological sites; including relocating the eroding Bressay site to the local Heritage Centre; using laser scanning to record threatened sites before they are destroyed; working with colleagues to build interactive digital 3D reconstructions of sites based on excavation evidence; and using video to promote archaeology and the problem of erosion more widely. He has also set up several web sites and has run a national photographic competition entitled Capturing the Coastline.

Selected Publications

  • Dawson, T ‘Erosion and coastal archaeology: Evaluating the threat and prioritising action’ in Daire, M-Y Proceedings of the HOMER International Conference (BAR International Series, in press)
  • Dawson, T ‘Coastal erosion and archaeology in Scotland – managing a national problem, with examples from the Uists’ (Journal of the North Atlantic, in press)
  • Winterbottom S J, Dawson T, Hansom J & Rennie A, Remote Sensing of Scottish Aeolian Landscapes (Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports, in press)
  • Dawson T, Lelong O & Shearer I Local Community Groups and Aeolian Archaeology: Shorewatch and the Experience of the Shetland Community Archaeology Project (Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports, 2011)
  • Dawson T and Stentoft K ‘The implications of climate change on coastal heritage in Northern Europe’ in (ed) Mizoguchi T The environmental histories of Europe and Japan (Nagoya University, 2008)
  • Dawson T and Winterbottom S J ‘Testing the use of multi-spectral imagery for detecting buried archaeology in sand dune-dominated systems’ in Jones, R E and Sharpe, L (eds) Going over Old Ground: Perspectives on archaeological geophysical and geochemical survey in Scotland. (BAR British Series, 2006)
  • Winterbottom S J & Dawson T ‘Airborne multi-spectral prospection for buried archaeology in mobile sand dominated systems’ (Archaeological Prospection, 2005)
  • Dawson T (ed) Coastal Archaeology and Erosion in Scotland, (Historic Scotland, 2003)
  • Fraser S M, Gilmour, S and Dawson T ‘Shorewatch: Monitoring Scotland’s Coastal Archaeology’ in Dawson, T (ed) Coastal Archaeology and Erosion in Scotland,(Historic Scotland, 2003)
  • Ashmore P & Dawson T. A Strategy for Scotland’s Coasts and Inshore Waters – Historic Environment (Scottish Coastal Forum/Scottish Executive, 2002)

Recent commissioned reports

  • Dawson, T Fethaland Fishing Station, Shetland : Desk-based assessment and preservation by digital record (unpublished report for the Shetland Amenity Trust, 2011)
  • Dawson, T A system for prioritising action at archaeological sites recorded in the Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys (unpublished report for Historic Scotland, 2010)
  • Dawson, T A Review of the Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys of Scotland, 1996-2007: Methods and collected data (unpublished report for Historic Scotland, 2008)
  • Dawson, T Archaeology and Coastal Erosion in Scotland: the current state of knowledge and future directions (unpublished report for Historic Scotland, 2006)

Contributions to:

  • Towards a Strategy for Scotland’s Marine Historic Environment: Discussion paper in association with the marine taskforce of the Built Environment Forum of Scotland’, (Historic Scotland, 2009)
  • A strategy for Scotland’s coast and inshore waters (Scottish Coastal Forum, 2004)