Scotland's Rural Past

People exploring Scotland's rural past
People exploring Scotland's rural past Crown copyright: RCAHMS

Heritage Grants

Edinburgh, Scotland
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS)
Almost 1000 volunteers participated in training courses – more than double the project’s original target of 400
”This should be the story of surveying a rural landscape…but it’s not. It’s about people.“
Jack Boughey, Killrubie Hill Project
Scotland’s Rural Past (SRP) raised awareness of Scotland’s rural heritage by encouraging and enabling people to discover, explore, share and help protect their local heritage through learning and volunteering.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), Scotland’s national collection of buildings, archaeology and industry, wanted to help secure the future of medieval and later rural settlements in Scotland. The project aimed to find out more about this key element of the nation’s historic environment, in a way that engaged local volunteers.

Local people, including school children, received training then led over 60 mini-projects to record and share rural heritage across Scotland. Online resources were created and data collected became part of RCAHMS’s national record. Volunteers shared their findings with one another and with the wider public. The project has provided a template for a further public engagement initiative, Scotland’s Urban Past, and has had a lasting impact on RCAHMS’s approach to working with communities.