Accessing Scotland's Past


Introducing 'Accessing Scotland's Past'
'Accessing Scotland's Past' (ASP) is an exciting pilot project underway at the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).

Glenlivet Distillery, Aberdeenshire - click for a larger imageRCAHMS records and interprets the rich variety of sites and monuments and buildings which together make up Scotland's built heritage. The organisation also works to promote a greater appreciation of this resource, through the National Monuments Record of Scotland, a national collection of material which relates to the archaeology and architecture of Scotland.

At the heart of the NMRS lies the Architecture and Archaeology Collections. These encompass a rich variety of material, including photographs, aerial photographs, books and periodicals, site reports and archives, maps, architectural drawings and models.

Hume Castle, Scottish Borders - click for a larger imageThe catalogue to these collections, together with information derived from a variety of sources, is available online in CANMORE. However, there has never been a clear guide to each archaeological site and historic building. ASP aims to address this by providing a short descriptive account of many sites and buildings, and a guide to where further information can be discovered. This will include links to other web pages. (N.B. RCAHMS does not endorse or recommend any of the links on these pages, nor is it responsible in any way for the content of the websites.)

In addition, the Aberdeenshire Council Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) is now available on-line and links have been placed in the ASP descriptions to the on-line information where possible.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ASP is currently running as a 'proof of concept' for one year in a limited geographical area. The target areas chosen are the Cairngorms, in Aberdeenshire and Moray, and the Merse, in the Scottish Borders. The project is being run in partnership with the local authority archaeologists for Moray, Aberdeenshire Council and Scottish Borders Council.

Drawing of Pictish Symbol Stone from Inveravon, Aberdeenshire - click for a larger imageContact details for the local authority archaeologists are:
Aberdeenshire and Moray: Mr Ian Shepherd, Archaeology Service, Aberdeenshire Council, Woodmill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen AB16 5GB (e-mail:
Scottish Borders Council: Dr John Dent, Economic Development and Environmental Planning, Scottish Borders Council, Council HQ, Newtown St. Boswells, Melrose, TD6 0SA (e-mail:

The Cairngorms and the Merse were chosen for this initial phase of the project on account of the diversity of their built heritage, showing a contrast between upland and lowland landscapes, and rural and townscape locations.

The information available through ASP is currently being restructured to enable sites to be grouped under a common heading or theme, such as a particular estate or town, or type of site. Some examples are available below.

ASP is an initiative which it is hoped will prove a valuable resource to a wide range of users, both within the local communities of the Cairngorms and the Merse, and wider afield. The ASP team welcomes feedback on this project, and can be contacted at

Link your site
ASP would like to encourage websites to link to the project. In order to create the link we now request a simple registration process. Please read the information about the Registration Process.


Click here for Aberdeenshire examples

Click here for Scottish Borders examples  
Click here for Moray examples
Click here for Mellerstain Estate sites
Click here for sites in Tomintoul
Click here for 'Warfare in the Scottish Borders'  
Click here for sites in Kelso
Click here for some examples of site typesClick here for examples of the site type: CastleClick here for examples of the site type: HengeClick here for examples of the site type: BarrowClick here for examples of the site type: Chapel  
Barrow  |  Castle  |  Chapel  |  Henge 
Click here for Ballindalloch Estate sites
Click here for Sir Walter Scott examples in the Scottish Borders  
Click here for Newton Don Estate sites
Click here for examples in Greenlaw  
  These examples are just a selection of the captions produced so far as part of the ĎASPí Project. Others can be accessed via CANMORE, with sites being added on a regular basis. To see which parishes are currently covered by the ĎASPí Project, go to the Coverage page.  

Supported by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland     Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund     Supported by The Archaeology Service     Supported by the Scottish Borders Council

Accessing Scotland's Past