Volunteers sought for local project

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Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen are leading a project to unearth the secrets of Bennachie and hope it will result in an exciting new heritage project.

Budding local archaeologists are being asked to get involved by attending a number of events that will take place over Bennachie over the coming months.

Explaining about the project, Dr Gordon Noble, Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen explained: “Bennachie is widely acknowledged as a historically and archaeologically significant location, but very little surveying or excavation work has actually taken place on the site – and this is what our project aims to change.

“Our intent is to get the local community involved in helping us discover more about this fascinating and important landmark that sits on their doorstep.

“We are running a series of events on Bennachie throughout May and June which aim to equip community members with the knowledge and skills they require to undertake their own work into the history and heritage of their local area.

“Activities will include archaeological digs on the hill, an oral history day with the chance hear and share stories about Bennachie, and an event hosted by the Royal Commission where locals will be offered the chance to learn methods for recording old buildings.

“Our particular focus across all of these events will be on discovering more about ‘the Colony of Bennachie’ – settlers who resided on the hill rent free from the 1830s onwards before landholding estates divided up the land in the 1860s, and they were forced to pay rent or move on.

“This project aims to learn more about the day to day lives of these people and how it compares to what is recorded in history about their existence on Bennachie.”

These activities in May and June are part of an ongoing Bennachie Landscapes Project that involves several partners including The Bailies of Bennachie, a voluntary charity concerned with the social and natural history of the hill, Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service and Forestry Commission Scotland. The Bailies of Bennachie are employing landscape archaeologist Colin Shepherd as co-ordinator for the project.

Jackie Cumberbirch, Senior Bailie of Bennachie said: “Bennachie is a fantastic place and these events will hopefully inspire everyone in the area to find out more about the hill.”

For further information on these events, and how to get involved in the research, contact Colin Shepherd, at

colin@scottish-heritage.org.uk.