Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland

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Principal Investigator: Dr Sally Foster, University of Stirling

Co-Investigator: Dr Katherine Forsyth, University of Glasgow

Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland: A Research Framework was launched on August 2016 at Govan Old Church in Glasgow and is accessible online on the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework. Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh with additional support from Historic Environment Scotland, this project was a strategic effort to link, inspire, mobilize and help direct the efforts of all those with an interest in or responsibility for carved stones in Scotland. 

Over the course of four workshops, we aimed to take stock of existing and ongoing research and to identify priorities for future research. By involving leading practitioners from England, Ireland and Sweden we hoped to benchmark Scottish initiatives to best practice internationally. Our aim was to stimulate research into all aspects of carved stones in Scotland in order to promote an increased awareness of the interest, significance and value of this important aspect of our heritage. This in turn will help improve handling of their care, for wider public benefit.

The RSE-funded project objectives were to:

  • produce and publish Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland: A Research Framework. This will fill a perceived gap in the Scottish Archaeology Research Framework (ScARF) and will inform and inspire future research.
  • bring together for the first time experts from across the research community with a wide range of specialist and non-specialist ‘stakeholders’ from the heritage and stewardship sectors in order to: share information and best practice (including knowledge transfer)
  • establish links that can form the basis of future collaborations
  • lay the groundwork for an international research network on digital applications in research on early medieval inscribed monuments.

In consultation with the National Committee on Carved Stones in Scotland, we identified two specific areas to prioritize that seemed particularly pressing or potentially fruitful: digital recording technology (a field in which Scotland aspires to play a leading role - Workshop 1); and carved stones associated with churches (a major issue not previously addressed - Workshop 2). In Workshop 3 we sought the involvement of as wide a range of participants as possible in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of current research, and where future directions might lie. In Workshop 4 we formulated our proposed approach and the Framework's structure. 

For further information please contact the project's Principal Investigator, Dr Sally Foster.

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