ARCHAEOLOGISTS of all abilities will dig into some of Scotland’s top historical sites this summer in a bid to highlight threats to the environment.

Scotland Digs! 2022 will see archaeologists – from amateurs to professionals – examining everything from ancient rock art to a medieval friary and an “industrial ghost town”.

Co-ordinated by the Society of Antiquaries, the campaign will take place from June 21 to September 22, with events for the public to get involved in.

The National: Excavations at Sgòr an Eòin in 2021 (© Professor Graeme Warren) Excavations at Sgòr an Eòin in 2021 (© Professor Graeme Warren)

These cover the width and breadth of the country, taking place from Orkney all the way down to the Borders.

Dr Jeff Sanders, the campaign’s project manager, said: “As well as bringing stories from the past to life, archaeology helps us think through pressing issues facing our own society. This year’s campaign will share the excitement of a summer spent unearthing new stories during Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, while harnessing the imagination this generates to encourage everyone to examine our responses to the climate emergency.

“From big issues of adaptation to environmental changes to small shifts like choosing sustainable travel options to get to a dig, archaeology can be part of both the conversation and the solution.”

This year's campaign will highlight environmentalism as it takes on the theme "climate action archaeology".

The National: Saline Old Kirkyard (Credit to Saline & District Heritage Society)Saline Old Kirkyard (Credit to Saline & District Heritage Society)

Hoping to show the connections between archaeology and climate change, social media accounts for Scotland Digs! will showcase posts about decades-old plastic finds that have barely begun to degrade, sites being threatened by erosion and sea level changes, and more.

Activities that the public can get involved in include excavating 4000-year-old rock art in Dumfries and Galloway in June, searching for evidence of a medieval church in Fife during July and observing archaeologists as they look for artefacts in Aberdeenshire at the end of the summer.

There will also be ways that the public can take part in the campaign from the comfort of their own homes.

The National: Aerial of the Waggonway Dig 2021 (Credit to Shabhaz Majeed 2021)Aerial of the Waggonway Dig 2021 (Credit to Shabhaz Majeed 2021)

The Dig It! TV YouTube channel is updated frequently with videos from excavations, Dig It! Digest delivers news about Scottish archaeology stories and events once a month, and Crafting the Past allows Minecraft users to access free downloadable builds of Scottish sites for an interactive educational experience.

The upcoming campaign is the first one to go ahead since 2019, as the Covid restrictions resulted in the cancellation of campaigns in 2020 and 2021.

Amy Eastwood, head of grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “I’m delighted that members of the public will once again be able to enjoy tours, open days and volunteering opportunities as organisers are able to reopen sites.

“There is a lot of exciting activity taking place throughout Scotland this year and the Scotland Digs! 2022 campaign and online hub is a fantastic tool for people to find out more about archaeology in their area.”

The National: Uncovering 300-year-old timbers (credit to Sally Pentecost)Uncovering 300-year-old timbers (credit to Sally Pentecost)

This year, the campaign will also highlight the work of Archaeological Research Services who are looking for volunteers to aid them in their exploration of a 2500-year-old metalworking settlement near Elgin in Moray.

Each unit that the campaign highlights is working to offset the impact they have on the environment and on the historical sites around them.