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RCAHMS Isle of Bute Survey

RCAHMS is undertaking a project in partnership with the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme (DBLPS), which aims to revise the records of all the archaeological sites on the island while providing training opportunities for members of the local community. In 2009, about 650 archaeological sites, including over 100 new sites, were visited. Of particular interest are the extensive pre- and early improvement period cultivation remains, much of which are depicted on a series of detailed estate plans held by the Mount Stuart Trust. Three aerial sorties were also undertaken to record known monuments, cropmarks and improvement

period farmsteads. (Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2009)

2010 saw the conclusion of the two-year partnership project between RCAHMS and the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Schem (DBLPS), first noted last year. This year, the Commission continued in close collaboration with the local community and over 70 volunteers attended a series of training sessions held to teach aspects of archaeological recording. Tuition combined with prospective survey resulted in over 100 previously unrecorded sites being added to the RCAHMS database. The volunteers also undertook detailed survey of individual monuments and participated in training workshops. The former included a preshistoric hut-circle and an Improvement period farmsteading; the latter included topics such as training in archaeological survey techniques, archaeological 'ownership', and the impact of the public contribution to archaeological projects has on the wider geo-political landscape of Scotland.

The culmination of the project was the publication in November of The Archaeological Landscape of Bute, a booklet which describes and discusses the archaeology of Bute from the Mesolithic to the 19th century. The booklet, one of several tangible legacies between RCAHMS, DBLPS and the local population, is a full-colour publication and is illustrated with ground and aerial photography, historical documents, maps and survey drawings. The text highlights particular sites, discusses possible avenues of research, acknowledges the character of previous archaeological investigations on the island, and demonstrates the importance of local driving forces for future work. (Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2010, 193-4)