Your Chance To Update Galloway’s Historical Records

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme is launching two free summer archaeological projects for all to get involved with, as part of its Community Archaeology Project ‘Can You Dig It’.

Can You Dig It is all about getting people involved in their local archaeology, regardless of their experience level. A number of digs, explorations and technical workshops were carried out last year, and more were planned for this summer before the COVID outbreak. Now in the light of the current restrictions, the project has re-focussed on two new projects for this year which can be done by individuals or household groups.


My Galloway

The first is called ‘My Galloway’ and encourages people to update the national historic record Canmore (www.canmore.org.uk) with their own photos and memories of our special buildings and heritage sites. Many are logged for this area, but the detail can be sparse. The Can You Dig It team of professional archaeologists from Rathmell Archaeology have created an information pack about how to update Canmore yourself, and have also created inspiration sheets about our local settlements, pointing out some of the famous buildings that are not well documented. Kirkcudbright and New Galloway are available so far; Carsphairn is in progress and more will be created through the summer. Photos of the buildings or sites as they are now, or old photos, plus memories of how they used to be used or information about current use are all really valuable additions to the national record. All entries are welcome, no professional archaeological knowledge is required.


Helen Keron, Education and Community Engagement Officer for the Galloway Glens said,

“This is a fantastic project for everyone who loves their local buildings to get involved with. Perhaps you live in a building that used to be a shop, or perhaps you know that school was built with stones robbed from a nearby ruin. Maybe you just want to photograph the buildings as they are now – that will be fascinating to people in 100 years’ time. Whether you’re new to the area or have memories of how it used to be, all are welcome to contribute and help us document the Galloway Glens’ special buildings.”



Are We There Yet

The second project is called ‘Are We There Yet’ and is trying to create a better understanding of our local milestones. These sturdy way-markers can be found all over the Galloway Glens and are a reminder of when coaches and travellers needed to check their progress as they journeyed on. The Can You Dig It team have created another information pack with a map of known locations and details of how to record them, so it’s another opportunity to add to our national historic record while finding out more about our local heritage.


Claire Williamson, archaeologist and ‘Can You Dig It’ Project Manager for Rathmell Archaeology, said “These features are often overlooked, so you might not realise that they’ve been informing travellers on our roads for centuries – just think how many people have cast their eye over them in that time. Old maps show over 70 milestones within our area. They weren’t all built the same – some are of stone while others are cast iron, and so they’re a nice reflection of the fashions of their time. These are unique features in our landscape and we’d like you to locate them, take a few photographs and write down a brief description. Open to residents and visitors alike, are you up for a little hunt?”


For more details or to request an information pack about either or both projects, contact Helen Keron on [email protected] or 07827 306866.


More details are also available on www.gallowayglens.org/projects/community-archaeology-programme-can-you-dig-it/


Can You Dig it also has a rolling programme of free online Zoom events about our local archaeology, hosted every second Wednesday. See the Galloway Glens and Can You Dig It social media pages (@GallowayGlens and @GGLPArchaeology) for more details, or the Galloway Glens website, or contact Helen Keron directly to be added to the email mailing list.


The Can You Dig it is the Galloway Glens’ Community Archaeology project, running from 2019 to 2022 thanks to funding from Historic Environment Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme is a suite of projects happening across the catchments of the rivers Ken and Dee from 2018 to 2023. £2.7million of core funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be matched by a variety of partners to bring over £5million of investment into the area over the 5 years. The area stretches from the uplands behind Carsphairn in the north, through the Glenkens, past Loch Ken, through Castle Douglas and out to the sea at Kirkcudbright. 35 headline projects plus more Small Grants projects all aim to connect people with their cultural, natural and built heritage, and to support sustainable modern rural communities.

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