Edited by Scottish Wetland Archaeology Project
‘We have to accept that wetland archaeology is a theatre of archaeology in its own right, neither reliant on dryland archaeology nor validated by the provision of insights to dryland studies … the dawning of a theoretical framework for wetland archaeology is upon us.’ John Barber & Alison Sheridan, Introduction to Plenary Session
The Scottish Wetland Archaeology Project (SWAP) was initiated in 1998 in response to John Coles’ energetic encouragement of the Scottish delegates to the Dublin WARP Conference. Over the following years, the work of SWAP members and others on wetland materials and projects led to the hosting of the 11th International WARP Conference in Edinburgh in September 2005.
Attended by delegates from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA, as well as those from Britain and Ireland, this conference came at a significant time for wetland studies in Scotland. Its significance was highlighted by the attendance of the Scottish Minister for Tourism, Culture, and Sport, Patricia Ferguson MSP, who announced that Historic Scotland would be given the task of re-evaluating the nation’s wetland archaeology. That work is now underway and will continue over the next five years. The timing of the conference was also significant in that ti came on the eve of the UK’s signing of the European Landscape Convention, raising hopes that with new landscape designations it might at last prove possible to preserve wetland sites as significant elements in cultural landscapes rather than as incidental inclusions in nature reserves.
In addressing wetland landscapes, the proceedings of this conference bear witness to resurgence in Scottish wetland studies and offer a new introduction to wetland sites as elements in the cultural landscapes of the world. They bring theoretical considerations into full focus for the first time and contribute to the maturation of the relationship between wet dry archaeology.
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland gratefully acknowledges funding towards the publication of this volume from Historic Scotland.