THE rich archaeological heritage of a Ross-shire community which dates back to 6500 BC is to be exposed, thanks to a lottery windfall.
The North of Scotland Archaeological Society has received £69,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting new project organised by volunteers.
Tarradale Through Time: Community engagement with archaeology in the Highlands, is aimed at uncovering the important but largely unrecognised archaeological heritage of the Tarradale area near Muir of Ord.
Over the years local archaeologists have realised there is a rich archaeological heritage below the surface of the Tarradale farmland.
Prehistoric flints, ancient pottery and early metal tools have been found on the surface of ploughed fields, and other evidence suggests that people have been living in the area since at least 6500 BC.
However, it is a heritage that is slowly disappearing and the project will conduct a number of focused excavations in the area to establish the degree of survival of archaeological remains below the plough soil. Part of the project is to enable the local community to appreciate the extent of the archaeological and historical heritage but also to encourage them to visit and participate in the planned excavations.
Exhibitions and talks will be held locally to keep the community informed on progress and an important part of the project is to inspire and enthuse local schoolchildren to find out about what happened in the Tarradale area in the past.
The North of Scotland Archaeological Society SCIO (NOSAS) is an amateur organisation that has been conducting excavations and surveys throughout the Highlands for some years.
They are keen to enable people who have not had previous experience of history and archaeology find out more about the past and how they can become involved in discovering the excitement of archaeology.
Participants who volunteer to become involved in Tarradale Through Time will find out how archaeology goes about uncovering the past and will be able to learn a number of new skills that can be utilised beyond the world of archaeology and heritage.
Dr Roland Spencer-Jones, the chairman of NOSAS, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Tarradale Through Time.
“We look forward to working with the local community and schoolchildren to help them uncover and understand the undoubtedly important archaeological and historical heritage of the Tarradale area.
“NOSAS has had a significant role in finding and interpreting the archaeological heritage of Northern Scotland and we are greatly encouraged that the Heritage Lottery Fund has been able to support this important project just as we are coming up to the 20th anniversary of NOSAS.”
Lucy Casot, head of HLF Scotland, said: “Uncovering where, and how, our ancestors lived helps communities to understand their own history and identity.
“Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to support projects such as Tarradale Through Time: community engagement with archaeology in the Highlands that produce tantalising clues about the past and provide volunteers with new skills.”