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30 April 2005
Scottish archaeological task force to save the past

A team of archaeologists is to arrive in Inverness (Highlands, Scotland) later this year in the hope of uncovering scores of ancient remains in need of legal protection. The visit by the task force from Historic Scotland has partly been prompted by the speed at which land is being bought up for potential development around the city. Historians fear many of these future building sites may conceal traces of long-lost communities and Historic Scotland hopes to protect such sites from development before they can be properly excavated and studied.
     Earlier this month, the agency sent a similar team to Aberdeenshire where its experts found nearly 200 sites in need of legal protection, ranging from standing stones and ruined hill forts to a World War Two pillbox coastal defence station. Historic Scotland regards both Aberdeenshire and the Inverness area as "underscheduled", leaving many nationally important sites at risk of being destroyed by building. "We will be researching old reports and aerial photographs to identify potential sites of interest, " a spokesman said. If sites are thought to be of national significance they will be scheduled as ancient monuments, giving them full protection under the Ancient Monuments and Historical Areas Act.
     The team will arrive in Inverness in September after the clearance of crops from fields has made it easier to inspect the surface of the land for signs of archaeological remains. In the past, such sites have been inspected on a piecemeal basis, as they are identified for development, but Historic Scotland believes the most efficient way of identifying and protecting sites may be to survey a larger area at once.

Source: The Inverness Courier (30 April 2005)

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