Baile Sear, North Uist - August 2005  The SCAPE Trust
About the Shorewatch project

What is Shorewatch?
Shorewatch is aimed at people interested in the coastal archaeology of Scotland. It brings together individuals and groups from local communities to save information about Scotland's precious archaeological sites before they are lost to erosion.

This website contains information on how to get involved in the project and explains how to record archaeological sites. There are pages giving details of some of the current projects and others explaining why we are collecting the data, who it is for and where your records will go. There are also forms and guidance notes to download to help you start your own recording project.

The project is for everyone, whether you are just visiting the Scottish coast on holiday or live by the sea.
Reasons for the project
There are thousands of archaeological sites on the coast of Scotland. They range from mounds of discarded shells, thrown away in the Mesolithic period (7000 years ago), to the remains of World War II defences. One reason that there are so many sites is that the coast has always been very important for the people of Scotland. The sea has acted as a highway for boats, especially important in mountainous areas, and has provided food and other resources. One problem that archaeologists have is that they don't know where all the sites are. People often think that there is nothing new left to find, but this is not true. Hundreds of new sites are found every year. Additionally, some sites, well known to local people and assumed to be already recorded, may not be.
Shorewatch work in Foula Group doing Shorewatch recording on Foula, Shetland.
Another problem is that sea level changes and increased storminess are leading to sections of the coast eroding. As the land gets washed away, so do archaeological sites. It is estimated that 12,000 sites may be at risk in Scotland alone. These range from places of local interest through to sites of national or even international importance.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to protect everything. Building coastal defences is not only expensive, it can also shift the problem to another stretch of coast. Shorewatch is helping interested people to preserve or record archaeological remains before they disappear forever.
Eroding broch in Shetland © The SCAPE Trust
Site of eroding broch in Shetland
Getting involved...
Local community groups, heritage societies, Young Archaeologists' Clubs and interested individuals are all working on the project. They are encouraged to record their findings. This can be done in many different ways, for example, by filling in recording forms, taking a series of photographs or by drawing plans.

Visit the resources page to learn more.
Shorewatch group recording the St Monans salt pans, Fife © The SCAPE Trust
Shorewatch group recording the
St Monans salt pans, Fife
  © The SCAPE Trust