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

The Council of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland act as Trustees of the charity and is comprised of voluntary members who are all Fellows of the Society and are elected by the Fellowship during the Anniversary Meeting on the 30th November each year or co-opted by Council.

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 are additional Ex Officio members of Council.

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

David Caldwell MA PhD FSA FSA Scot (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)

Tom Dawson BA(Hons) (2012, re-elected 2015, appointed Vice President 19 December 2016)

Tom Dawson

Tom Dawson

Tom is a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews. He started his archaeological career with the Museum of London and went on to work on and direct excavations in several different countries (including France, Sri Lanka, Italy and Japan). Since coming to Scotland in 2000, his work has focused on coastal archaeology and the threats posed by coastal processes. He works closely with Historic Scotland to gather information on the scale of the problem; and has analyzed results from coastal surveys in order to prioritize action. He also has a strong interest in community archaeology and is currently directing the Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project. This innovative national project employs mobile technology that allows members of the public to update information about priority sites.  Tom has managed numerous survey and excavation projects, and his community excavations, include Unst and Bressay on Shetland, Baile Sear in the Western Isles and Brora in Sutherland. These projects were jointly awarded the 2012 Current Archaeology Rescue Dig of the Year Award. He has also explored novel ways of working with threatened archaeological sites, including relocating the eroding Bressay site to the local Heritage Centre and using virtual reality environments to recreate the salt pans at Brora.  Tom has been the Managing Director of The SCAPE Trust (Scottish Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) since 2001; was appointed Commissioner with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland in 2010; and was a director of the Bardsey Island Trust from 2003 to 2008.


Barry G Ferguson FSA Scot

Barry G Ferguson

Barry G Ferguson MA(Hons) FSA Scot (2015, appointed Vice President 19 December 2016)

Barry is currently Director of Philanthropy & Partnerships at V&A Museum of Design Dundee and was previously Development & Sponsorship Director at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, one of Scotland’s National Performing Companies.  After studying 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 a member of Dr Barbara Crawford’s Dark Age Studies Committee.  His role at V&A Dundee oversees work in generating income from individuals, trusts and the corporate sector.  Barry is a member of the Institute of Fundraising Standards Advisory Board for Scotland.  He has presented at Institute of Fundraising and Arts & Business Scotland events and regularly delivers fundraising training for the Federation of Scottish Theatre.


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

Stephen Carter BSc PhD MIfA (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, focussing 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. This has included a recent three-year term on the Council of this Society; he has also been a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology and was President of Archaeology Scotland for two terms.

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

Sharon Webb BA(Hons) MPhil PhD MBE FSA Scot (2015)

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, a £6.5 million endeavour which aims to transform the organisation by extending existing buildings and services.  Over £1 million has been raised so far.  The recent successful HLF Round 1 application will provide development funding and an endorsement of £3.1 million towards the project.  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 and of the Argyll and Bute Museums and Heritage Forum.  She has been the Vice Chair of the Natural History and Antiquarian Society of Mid Argyll, the Vice President of the Argyll and Bute Museums and Heritage Forum, 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 and Natural Sciences for Campbeltown Museum, under a service level agreement with Argyll and Bute Council.

Dawn McLaren MA(Hons) PhD FSA Scot MCIfA (2015)

Dawn McLaren

Dr Dawn McLaren

Dawn is a Project Manager (post-excavation) 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. In her current post as a Project Manager with AOC Archaeology Group, she is engaged principally as an artefact specialist but also manages and develops post-excavation programmes of work and research. Her interests lie in prehistoric material culture, particularly Bronze Age and Iron Age artefacts, and she has published widely on both. She has been a member of the society since 2002.

Heather James MSc BA(Hons) PhD FSA Scot MCIfA (2016)

Dr Heather James, Northlight Archaeology

Dr Heather James

Heather is a manager at Northlight Heritage specialising in Community Archaeology. She 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 in 2010. 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.

Iain McDowall (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.

Dr Mhairi Maxwell (2017)

Dr Mhairi Maxwell

Dr Mhairi Maxwell

Mhairi is an archaeologist by training now working as an Assistant Curator at the V&A Dundee. She completed her doctorate at Bradford University, worked as a researcher on the Glenmorangie Research Project at the National Museum of Scotland, and until recently was post-doctoral research assistant on the ACCORD project, at the Digital Design Studio, Glasgow School of Art, exploring the use of 3D visualisation technologies for community heritage. She has been a Fellow of the Society since 2009.

Mhairi has a growing interest in digital crafting and design; creative practice in and outside the studio has played a central role in her research. She has active research interests in 3D visualisation including its applications for community engagement, art and material culture studies, and also is interested in issues surrounding the accessibility, dissemination and long-term preservation of these digital assets.

Professor Hector Macqueen LLB (Hons) PhD FBA FRSE (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.

Co-opted members of Council

Dr Deborah Lamb

Dr Deborah Lamb

Dr Deborah Lamb (2017)

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.

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 (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 (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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