In March, the ScARF and Dig It! teams attended the SIRFA research symposium in Kirkwall, Orkney.
Scotland’s Island Research Framework for Archaeology (SIRFA) is a four year project to develop and disseminate a regional research framework for the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney, set within a broader, island-wide archaeological research framework for Scotland.
Coordinated by ScARF, the project began in July 2018 and involves staff from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and Islands Archaeology Institute staff at Lews Castle College UHI working in partnership with Local Authority archaeologists at the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), Shetland Amenity Trust and Orkney Islands Council.
The event involved eight period and thematic sessions, three fieldtrips, two evening receptions and a public talk reflecting on the World Heritage Site of Neolithic Orkney delivered by Alice Lyall.
Over 130 local and international delegates from across the archaeology and heritage-sector gathered to agree on gaps in knowledge and understanding relating to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. The result will be a set of key research questions for the future of archaeological research across the Scotland’s islands.
ScARF were delighted to welcome Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Council Member, Prof. Donna Heddle (Head of Research Environment and Culture at UHI), as well as Orkney native MSP Neil Gray (Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development), who joined the symposium reception in Kirkwall.
The Orkney symposium was the third, and last, in the project. Previous events took place in the Western Isles and Shetland in 2019. The resulting regional research framework for the three island groups will be set within the broader Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF).
ScARF would like to extend their thanks to the SIRFA team, their 10 ECR bursary recipients and all the discussion chairs and participants for making this such a successful symposium. They would also like to thank Historic Environment Scotland for funding the SIRFA project.
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