Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 10:55 UK

Pirates to shiver timbers again

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
The pirates were far removed from the swashbuckling Johnny Depp

The execution of two pirates from Aberdeen is to be re-visited during September's Scottish Archaeology Month.

Robert Laird and John Jackson were among the Granite City's lesser known sea robbers. They were hanged in 1597.

Their story will be explored during an event called Tales from the Tolbooth, which will include a re-enactment.

More famous Aberdonian pirates include Provost Robert Davidson who fought Highland forces at the Battle of Harlaw, near Inverurie, in the 1400s.

Robert Laird and John Jackson were at the lower end of the scale and not in the style of John Davidson
Chris Croly
Aberdeen City Council

Chris Croly, of Aberdeen City Council archaeology unit, said the pirates went to the gallows for a raid on a ship at anchor at Burntisland, Fife.

He added they were nothing like the swashbuckling characters of Hollywood's Pirates of the Caribbean, starring Johnny Depp.

Mr Croly said: "Robert Laird and John Jackson were at the lower end of the scale and not in the style of Robert Davidson.

"They were driven to piracy because of economic circumstances in order to feed their families."

The re-enactment at the Tolbooth Museum on 13 September will include actors recreating the moment Laird and Jackson were led from jail.

Details of how much the gallows erected at Fittie in Aberdeen cost - 1, 8 shillings and four pence - and the identity of the dubiously-named executioner, John Justice, were found in the city's civic records.

Aberdeen - unlike other places in Scotland - still has a wealth of historic records because it escaped the destruction wrought by Edward I and later during the era of Oliver Cromwell.

Ship wrecks

Mr Croly said interesting pieces of history are still being found in the records.

One recent find was a participant in a feud being beheaded in a private execution in a city garden.

Archaeology month will be marked across Scotland.

Other events include looking at ship wrecks off Montrose, Angus, excavations of burial cairns in Dumfries and Galloway, visits to long-houses in Sutherland and a guided walk on the Antonine Wall at Bonnybridge, Falkirk.


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