Community action at sites threatened by natural processes

Author(s): Tom Dawson; Elinor Graham; Joanna Hambly

Year: 2017


Around the world, thousands of archaeological sites are threatened by coastal processes. Although many countries have successfully implemented schemes to address threats from development, this is not the case for sites at risk from natural processes. Without developers to fund mitigation projects, the scale of the problem appears enormous, and it is difficult for individual agencies to commit to preserving, or even recording, everything at risk. Systems are needed to update information and prioritise action to channel resources towards the most vulnerable areas.

In Scotland, a programme of national coastal survey was followed by a desk-based prioritisation project. However, the dynamic nature of the coast means that networks are needed to monitor change and report new discoveries. A citizen-science approach was adopted that recognised the wealth of knowledge and interest in heritage within local communities. The Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP) works with a volunteer network to update records of prioritised sites. The information contributed by citizen archaeologists allows re-evaluation of priority sites and provides a more accurate picture of the scale of the threat to heritage.

This paper examines SCHARP and lessons learned through running a project that channels community archaeology into solving a national problem.

Cite this Record

Community action at sites threatened by natural processes. Tom Dawson, Elinor Graham, Joanna Hambly. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431032)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15204