Secrets of Bennachie to be uncovered

Amateur archaeologists are being sought to take part in a project to unlock the secret past of one of Scotland’s most famous hills.

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen are calling on the local community to get involved in research to shed new light on the history of Bennachie.

They hope their work – which is funded by a grant of £20K from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – will result in an exciting new heritage project for Bennachie and the surrounding landscape.

Dr Gordon Noble, Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen said: “Whilst Bennachie is widely acknowledged as a historically and archaeologically significant location, very little work has been done in terms of detailed survey and excavation to build a picture of the archaeology that is actually present on the hill.

“The intent of this project is to get the community involved in our research into Bennachie, offering locals the chance to take part in a variety of events on the hill, including archaeological digs.

“We already work closely with voluntary conservation society, the Bailies of Bennachie, and hope to encourage other members of the local community to also get involved.

“The long-term aim is to equip community members with the knowledge and skills they require to do their own work into the history and heritage of their local area.”

The initial focus of the research will be to gain new insights into a 19th century settlement of farming families known as ‘the colony’ who resided on Bennachie from the 1830s onwards.

The team of archaeologists undertaking the project will host a series of public events throughout May and June offering volunteers the chance to get involved in the research.

Activities will include archaeological digs on the hill, an oral history day with the chance hear and share stories about Bennachie, and an event hosted by the Royal Commission where locals will be offered the chance to learn methods for recording old buildings.

There will also be a music event hosted by Peter Stollery, Professor in Composition and Electroacoustic Music at the University in Aberdeen, where the public will be asked to capture sounds on the hill which will then be developed into a composition.

Local school teachers will also have the chance to liaise with archaeologists from the University to understand how they can build the heritage of Bennachie into the school curriculum.

For more information on these events, and how to get involved, contact Colin Shepherd, colin@scottish-heritage.org.uk.