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Plea for old snaps to help preserve Highland Bronze Age burial site linked to Outlander series

By Staff Reporter

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The number of people visiting Clava Cairns has risen dramatically.
The number of people visiting Clava Cairns has risen dramatically.

People are being asked to dig out old photographs of a 4000-year-old burial site near Inverness linked to the hit TV drama series Outlander to help document changes.

Clava Cairns, a Bronze Age complex of passage graves, cairns and standing stones, has seen a surge in visitor numbers following the success of Outlander, leading to erosion and damage.

A two-year conservation project, Monument Monitor, run by Historic Environment Scotland and University College London, is using visitor photographs to monitor changes at remote heritage sites including Clava Cairns.

It says although travelling to visit heritage sites is currently not an option due to coronavirus restrictions, people can still help with scientific research and ongoing conservation from home.

"Monument Monitor wants to see how visiting patterns, climate change and long-term trends have affected these sites," it states. "We need your pictures to help.

"There is no time limit on this, if you have any in the loft from your grandparents, send them in.

"Visitors’ photographs over the years can tell us a great deal about the sites we look after."

It has also highlighted Machrie Moor in Arran and Achnabreck in Kilmartin Glen in issuing the invite for old photographs which will help track vegetation growth in castles, erosion of peat caps along walls of iron age forts and ground erosion near the most popular sites.

"At Clava Cairns, we’re currently using your photos to monitor the ‘Outlander effect’," the project says.

"Since the popular TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s books aired in 2014, we’ve seen a huge increase in visitors.

"We want to collect pictures of your visits both before and after this time.

"This will help us to model potential erosion around the cairns as a result of the increased visitor numbers."

For more information go to: https://blog.historicenvironment.scot

Related: Outlander creator reveals where in Highlands she could see herself living

Outlander impact on Highlands comes under the spotlight

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