Concern for island archaeological sites

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant last raised concerns that many archaeological sites in the islands are under threat due to climate change in the Scottish Parliament last week.

Commenting after the Scottish Government’s Historic Environment Strategy debate, Mrs Grant said: “Our culture and heritage are part of each one of us and I therefore welcome the opportunity to debate this matter.

“Archaeological sites are fascinating and can be a draw for tourists, but they are also very much places of learning. Our historic environment provides us with the ability to look back and see how past generations dealt with challenges, many of which we too must deal with.”

Ms Grant continued: “Although many sites in our islands are still to be excavated, a large number of these are coming under pressure as a result of climate change.

“Many are situated in saline lagoons or on the machair, landforms that are coming under huge pressure through climate change.

“Moreover, many of our archaeological sites are under threat from coastal erosion as a result of climate change and we need to ensure such sites are protected from such damage.

“We need a more joined-up approach to allow organisations such as SNH to work with those who protect and assess our built environment wherever their aims and objectives cross over. The government’s strategy must recognise and incorporate the work of local authorities and work with them, other Government bodies and the voluntary sector to protect our cultural heritage.”

Rhoda Grant added: “We need to take a longer-term view. If we invest in these sites and they are excavated and protected, they will begin to pay for themselves and will contribute to local economies in years to come.”