Responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of the Society.

The Council of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is the Board of Trustees of the charity.  It is comprised of voluntary members who are all Fellows of the Society elected by the Fellowship during the Anniversary Meeting on the 30th November each year or co-opted by Council.  The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is also committed to achieving gender balance in the Council by 2020.

Law 11 states: “The Council shall consist of at least eleven Fellows elected by the Society, the Chairman of the North East Section ex officio, the Society representative of the National Museums Scotland (NMS) ex officio who is already a Fellow of the Society (nominated by the NMS Board of Trustees) and up to two co-opted persons appointed by the Council to fill a vacancy on the Council.  The total number of members of the Council shall not exceed fifteen at any time.”

As defined in the Laws, the Officers of the Council include the President, two Vice Presidents and the Treasurer.  The President is elected for a period of up to three years and may stand for a second term, subject to Law 16. The Treasurer is elected for one year and, again subject to Law 16, is eligible for re-election.  The term of office of the President and the Treasurer respectively may not exceed six years in total.  The Vice-Presidents are appointed by the Council from amongst the elected members of the Council. The Vice-Presidents are appointed for an initial term of up to three years and may be appointed for a further term of up to three years, subject to Law 16.

The Chair of the Aberdeen and North-East Section and a representative from the National Museums Scotland (NMS) are additional Ex Officio members of Council; the former is elected by Fellows in Aberdeen and North East of Scotland, and the latter nominated by the NMS.

President (elected for three years with year of election in brackets)

David Caldwell MA PhD FSA FSAScot (2014, re-elected 2017)

Dr David Caldwell

Dr David Caldwell

David was brought up in Ardrossan in Ayrshire. After graduating with a degree in archaeology from Edinburgh University he spent 38 years working for the National Museums of Scotland. When he retired in February 2012 he was keeper of two of the five curatorial departments – Scotland and Europe, and Archaeology. Over the years he has tackled a broad range of projects and has maintained a strong interest in the history and archaeology of Scotland. From 1990 to 1997 he directed excavations at Finlaggan, Islay, the original home of the MacDonalds and in 2002 was a member of a small international team that discovered and excavated the campsite of Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, on Robinson Crusoe Island in the Pacific. He was awarded a PhD by Edinburgh University in 1982 for a thesis on the early use of guns in Scotland, and has published over 100 articles, mostly academic, some popular, on a variety of matters, including archaeology, Scottish weapons and warfare, castles and fortifications, and medieval West Highland sculpture. The books include Scottish Weapons and Fortifications 1100-1800 (1981), Islay the Land of the Lordship (2008); and (with M A Hall and C M Wilkinson) The Lewis Chessmen Unmasked (2010, 2011). He has served on the Advisory Committee of Historic Wreck Sites for the UK Government and as President of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology. He is a trustee of the Finlaggan Trust and a director of Fife Cultural Trust (a body responsible for running the libraries, museums and theatres in Fife).

Vice Presidents (appointed by Council for three years with year of appointment in brackets)

Barry G Ferguson FSA Scot

Barry G Ferguson

Barry G Ferguson MA(Hons) FSAScot (2015, appointed Vice President 19 December 2016, re-elected 2018)

Barry is currently Director of Philanthropy & Partnerships at V&A Dundee, having been Development & Sponsorship Director at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, from 2002 to 2017.  After studying medieval and Scottish history at the University of Glasgow under Professor Archie Duncan, Dr Stuart Airlie and Professor Matthew Strickland amongst others, Barry worked in various student development, student recruitment, alumni relations and fundraising roles at the University of Glasgow, Abertay University and the University of St Andrews where he was Deputy Director of Development.  At St Andrews Barry was also privileged to serve on Dr Barbara Crawford’s Dark Age Studies Committee.  Whilst his interest and involvement in history is (very!) amateur, his professional experience in fundraising, alumni relations and marketing in the higher education and arts & culture sectors are proving useful in the delivery of the Society’s development.  Barry has presented at Institute of Fundraising and Arts & Business Scotland events and regularly delivers fundraising training for the Federation of Scottish Theatre.  He was appointed Vice President by Council Trustees on 19 December 2016.

Heather James MSc BA(Hons) PhD FSAScot MCIfA (2016, appointed Vice President 18 March 2019, re-elected 2019)

Dr Heather James, Northlight Archaeology

Dr Heather James

Heather runs Calluna Archaeology. She was a manager at Northlight Heritage specialising in Community Archaeology and has been working in Scotland since 1984 initially for the then Department of Environment, then later Strathclyde Regional Council Planning Department and Glasgow University Archaeology Research Division, before joining Northlight Heritage. She has experience in archaeological fieldwork throughout the UK, and in Italy, France, Jordan and Peru. She has directed several major projects resulting in publications, such as Excavations at St Ethernan’s Monastery, Isle of May, Fife 1992-1997 and A Fragmented Masterpiece: Recovering the biography of the Hilton of Cadboll Pictish cross-slab. She also directed excavations at Castle Craig broch as part of the University of Glasgow’s Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot Project. Most recently she has run the public engagement aspects of the Ulster Scots Archaeology Project, directed fieldwork and excavations in Argyll for Clan Macfarlane Worldwide and developed and managed Walking Back to the Future a heritage walk in Shettleston, Glasgow. Heather holds a PhD on the medieval rural settlement of Mid Argyll.

Treasurer (elected each year, first year of election in brackets)

Stephen Carter BSc PhD FSAScot MCIfA (2012)

Stephen Carter

Dr Stephen Carter

Stephen is a Senior Consultant with Headland Archaeology, based in Edinburgh.  Doctoral research in Environmental Archaeology at the University of London Institute of Archaeology was followed by a move to Scotland in 1989 where he initially worked on specialist analyses of archaeological sediments. With the creation of Headland Archaeology in 1996, his role shifted to archaeological project management, focusing on Environmental Impact Assessment; his current workload is dominated by consultancy for onshore wind energy developments throughout the UK. Away from his professional employment he has served on the governing bodies of various archaeological organisations including the Council for British Archaeology and Archaeology Scotland.  He has served as Treasurer on the Council of this Society since 2012 and is elected Honorary Chair of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Members of Council (elected for three years with year of election in brackets)

Sharon Webb MBE BA(Hons) MPhil PhD FSAScot (2015, re-elected 2018)

Photograph of Sharown Webb

Dr Sharon Webb MBE

Sharon has been Director and Curator of Kilmartin Museum, Argyll since 2004 and in that time has taken the Museum from a major funding crisis to relative financial stability. The Museum and Café now employ over 30 staff and are supported by more than 50 regular volunteers. Now collecting and curating almost all the archaeology found in Argyll, the Museum also engages in active fieldwork. Currently, Sharon is also Project Director of Kilmartin Museum’s Redevelopment Project, which will transform the organisation by extending existing buildings and services. Over £6 million has been raised so far, and the project is set to begin its delivery phase in the Autumn of 2018. Sharon authored a book entitled In the Footsteps of Kings a guide to walks around Kilmartin, published by Kilmartin Museum Trust. She was an appointed member of the Museums Think Tank set up by Government in 2009 and is a committee member of the National Committee for Carved Stones in Scotland.  She has been Vice Chair of the Argyll and Bute Museums and Heritage Forum, and the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Mid Argyll, helper for the Museums Young Archaeologists Club as well as previously curatorial advisor for a number of Museums in Argyll. Sharon is also the Curator of Archaeology for Campbeltown Museum, under a service level agreement with Argyll and Bute Council. She was awarded an MBE for services to heritage and archaeology in 2015.

Dawn McLaren MA(Hons) PhD FSAScot MCIfA (2015, re-elected 2018)

Dawn McLaren

Dr Dawn McLaren

Dawn is Assistant Director (post-excavation: artefacts) with AOC Archaeology Group, based in Loanhead. Having graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2002 with a degree in Archaeology, she was employed as a Research Assistant and latterly Post-Excavation Officer within the Archaeology Department (now the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology) of National Museums Scotland. During her time at NMS she completed a doctoral thesis, co-supervised by Dr David Clarke (NMS) and Professor Ian Ralston (University of Edinburgh), entitled Funerary Rites afforded to children in Earlier Bronze Age Britain: case studies from Scotland, Yorkshire and Wessex and contributed as a panel member to the construction of ScARF Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Panel Report. Since joining AOC in 2012, Dawn has been principally engaged as an artefact specialist and as Assistant Director of post-excavation she manages AOC’s in-house artefact team. Dawn manages a variety of small- to large-scale post-excavation and archiving projects, both in-house and as a consultant to external institutions, including Historic Environment Scotland and National Museums Scotland. Most recently, Dawn has been an active member of AOC’s community archaeology excavation team, working closely with volunteers and community groups to provide public engagement artefact workshops and lectures, and to enable on-site artefact identification.  Dawn specialises in the analysis of prehistoric artefacts and pursues her research interests in Bronze Age burials and later prehistoric material culture, lecturing and publishing on both subjects. She has been a member of the society since 2002.

Iain McDowall FSAScot (2017)

Photo of Iain McDowall

Iain McDowall

Iain is a chartered surveyor currently working as the Director of Estates and a member of the senior management team at The Royal Parks in London. Iain studied history at Edinburgh University and has been a Fellow since 1983. Before becoming a surveyor Iain worked as a volunteer at NMAS. Since moving South in 2009 Iain has been a member of the Surrey Archaeological Society and has volunteered at the Woking Palace excavations. His 32 years experience in surveying include office acquisitions and management of a portfolio of office properties as well as advising organisations on all aspects of their property. This should assist the Society in the delivery of the accommodation aspects of its Vision and Strategy in the 2016-21 Strategic Plan.


Prof Hector MacQueen photograph

Prof Hector MacQueen

Professor Hector Macqueen LLB (Hons) PhD FBA FRSE FSAScot (2017)

Professor of Private Law at the University of Edinburgh and has also been a Scottish Law Commissioner since 2009 (his term in that office concludes at the end of March 2018).  As well as contemporary law and its reform, his research interests include legal history and Scottish history more generally, generally in the medieval period, but occasionally straying as far as the twentieth century, and always seeking a better understanding with a comparative approach.



Dr Sally Foster photograph

Dr Sally Foster

Sally Foster BA(Hons) PhD FSA FSAScot MCIfA (2018)

Lecturer in Heritage and Conservation at the University of Stirling, a member of its Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy. A first degree in Medieval Archaeology at University College London inspired her to move to Glasgow for her PhD with Professor Leslie Alcock. After working as an Investigator with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (1989-1991) she then worked for Historic Scotland for nearly twenty years, latterly as a head of designation. Her return to academia in 2010 began with temporary lectureships in archaeology in Glasgow and Aberdeen. She has been Honorary Editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Medieval Archaeology and Secretary of the Medieval Europe Research Community. She is Chair of the National Committee on Carved Stones in Scotland and a Trustee of several organisations, including Kilmartin Museum. Her past research has explored early medieval Scotland (e.g. Picts, Gaels and Scots), spatial analysis of architecture, and Scottish carved stones of all periods (she was Principal Investigator for the Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland ScARF). Her current research focuses on issues of value, significance and authenticity, particularly with reference to historic replicas.

Dr Deborah Lamb

Dr Deborah Lamb

Dr Deborah Lamb MA(Cantab) PhD FSAScot (2018)

From a degree in Classics at Girton College, Cambridge, Deborah qualified as a Chartered Accountant. She has been involved in archaeological excavation since her teens, and following her move to Shetland in 1982 she has worked on a range of Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age sites in Shetland, Orkney and Caithness as well as engaging in experimental archaeology. After early retirement she completed a PhD in archaeology. She was an Honorary Research Fellow with the UHI 2008-2014, and carried out occasional tutorial work for Shetland College UHI, including VC teaching sessions, VLE development and marking for Culture Studies / Environment and Heritage. More recently she has served as external academic panel member for the approval process of a new CertHE. Her publications include archaeological articles in edited volumes and conference proceedings, as well as a wide range of book reviews for the ‘Shetland Times’.

Although she originally moved to Shetland to manage the Council’s oil money, her subsequent career with the Shetland Islands Council included several years as director of a major department before moving to the Town Hall to work in the Chief Executive’s office. Equipped with both management and training qualifications she now offers courses in business and management skills, and is a qualified tourist guide.

During the winter she works on post-excavation cataloguing of the finds from Old Scatness and in summer on local digs, latterly with the University of Aberdeen. Her other interests are sea kayaking and Fair Isle knitting.  Deborah was co-opted by Council Trustees in 2017 and elected in 2018.

Co-opted members of Council

Photograph of Sam Mills, Trustee

Sam Mills FSAScot

Sam Mills MSc FSAScot (18 December 2019)

Sam Mills is an independent archiving and heritage consultant. He is currently working on a four-year archival project for Kirkdale Archaeology, where he is responsible for managing the processing of all types of post-excavation material. He has previously worked for other membership organisations, where he managed the accounts and communicated regularly with members. He is interested in how archaeology and heritage can adapt and stay relevant to current events, and believes that an increase in diversity in the heritage sector is a key way of attaining this goal.

Manda Forster PhD MCIfA FSAScot (18 December 2019)

Dr Manda Forster

Dr Manda Forster

Manda Forster is the Director of Operations at DigVentures, a social enterprise specialising in community focussed archaeology and heritage projects. Working as part of a dispersed team, Manda relocated to the west coast of Scotland in 2017, having spent several years working at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Archaeology, followed by a stint at the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists promoting the work of the institute. Throughout her degree at Bradford University, Manda spent summers digging in Shetland, inspiring her to pursue a PhD researching early medieval trade in the North Atlantic, specialising in soapstone artefacts of Shetland, Greenland and Norway. Currently, Manda coordinates business delivery at DigVentures, as well as developing and managing projects in Scotland. Most recently, Manda directed investigations at Coldingham, working with community participants to look for evidence of an early medieval monastery in the centre of the village. Manda has a keen interest in post excavation processes and archives management, recently writing guidance for the management of digital data in archaeological archives in partnership with CIfA and supported by Historic England and the Archaeological Archives Forum.

Ex Officio members of Council

Chair of the Aberdeen and North-East Section (elected for three years with year of election in brackets)

Neil Curtis MA MLitt AMA FSAScot (elected to Section 24 April 2018)

Neil Curtis

Neil Curtis

Born in Glasgow in 1964, Neil Curtis came to Aberdeen in 1988 where he is now Head of Museums and Special Collections and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Anthropology. He studied Archaeology (Glasgow, 1986), Museum Studies (Leicester, 1988) and Education (Aberdeen, 1995).



National Museums Scotland Representative (nominated by the Trustees of the NMS)

Dr Xerxes Mazda FSAScot (appointed 29 Aug 2016)

Dr Xerxes Mazda

Dr Xerxes Mazda

Xerxes is Director of Collections at National Museums Scotland, where he is responsible for five curatorial departments and the collections services team, covering all four museums that make up the National Museums, and the National Museums Collections Centre.  He was previously Deputy Director, Engagement at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada where he looked after all the visitor experience, including galleries and exhibitions, education, web, publications, design, front of house, visitor research, diversity, marketing, membership, volunteers and programming.  Prior to this he was at the British Museum as Head of Learning, Volunteers and Audiences. Trained as a scientist, Xerxes began his museum career at the Science Museum in London in many roles which included curating the Communications collections as well as working on exhibitions and galleries. He is interested in the role that collections play in the visitor experience and runs museology training in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.


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