The ‘Can You Dig It’ Archaeology Project Approaches Its Final Burst of Activity

The ‘Can You Dig It’ community archaeology project – part of the Galloway Glens Scheme – has worked with hundreds of volunteers over the last 4 years to inspire and understand the archaeology and history of the Ken/Dee valley in Galloway – showcasing archaeological processes and approaches. From digs to field walks, from self-led covid friendly study work to the phenomenally popular series of online events, the project has been wide ranging. Plans are now being made for its final burst of activity.


The project has been funded in partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). In 2022 it secured additional funds to allow a final round of work. This has included events on Romans in Galloway (recording here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGOqBfRsVCY) and the Clearances of Southern Scotland (recording here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efkOhvlWEI8), the Building Biographies self-research project now underway (for full information email [email protected])  and plans are afoot for the final dig site in Summer 2023 – more info soon. For all project updates, follow the ‘Can You Dig it’ or ‘Galloway Glens’ social media channels, or sign up to the mailing list by sending a note to [email protected].


Claire Williamson, from Rathmell Archaeology, has led the work of the project since inception in 2019. As the project approaches its final summer, Claire said:

“Over the last four years, we’ve been amazed by the support and enthusiasm of the community when it comes to their local heritage, and this will never change. Our Building Biographies project has already seen 57 people sign up to research over 60 houses across Galloway. Between this and our dig in the summer, we’re really looking forward to uncovering some more of Galloway’s hidden secrets during our last year!”


Jan Hogarth, Galloway Glens Education & Community Engagement Officer, oversees project development and said:

“The Building Biographies research project is a wonderful way of finding the stories behind our magnificent old buildings in Galloway. It is stories that bring buildings alive in our imaginations and give them life. There has been so much interest in this project that I have no doubt researchers may well bring to light discoveries and synergies within the research which may not have been known before.
The Can You Dig It project has been very helpful in helping arm us with archaeology and historical research skills which can help us in the community find out more about our past. I look forward to the next few months of activities and anticipate fascinating findings! We are all so grateful to the project funders – The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland – and to everyone that has got involved in the project!”


HES part funds the project. Kevin Grant from HES sits on the project steering group, and added:

“Historic Environment Scotland have been delighted to support the Galloway Glens Scheme to deliver a huge range of projects over the past four years. They have showcased the unique heritage and archaeology of an often-forgotten area of Scotland. The pandemic brought unexpected opportunities as people from all over the world attended online events in their hundreds. We look forward to seeing more of Galloway’s secrets revealed in the project’s final phase.”


The project is also funded using the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to the Galloway Glens Scheme. Caroline Clark, Scotland Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players the Galloway Glens Can You Dig It? Programme created opportunities for the whole community to get involved in archaeology, to learn fieldwork and research skills and put them into practice. The project has also enabled local people to create a wealth of resources to share their discoveries with future generations.”



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