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Communities adopt ancient sites

15 June 07 10:08 GMT

An ancient burial ground at risk of crumbling into the sea is one of six historic sites to be taken under the wings of concerned community groups.

The prehistoric site on Unst, Shetland, is included in the Council of Scottish Archaeology's Adopt-a-Monument scheme.

A skeleton with a polished stone disc tucked inside its mouth was found there in 2005.

The other five projects are in the Western Isles, the Borders, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire.

The burial site at Sandwick Bay on Unst is threatened by coastal erosion.

Helen Bradley, the council's Adopt-a-Monument Officer, said: "It's great to see the Unst community taking ownership of their heritage and working so hard to promote this important archaeological site."

'Coastal heritage'

The Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problems of Erosion Trust (Scape) have commissioned an urgent excavation of the site.

Tom Dawson, of the trust, said: "This is one of thousands of threatened coastal sites and this project sets a great example for other communities to help raise awareness of the impacts of climate change upon Scotland's coastal heritage.

"The work this group is carrying out will help to save a site that would otherwise have been lost."

Meanwhile, a group called The Friends of Coldingham Priory and the local community have adopted the ruins of a 12th Century Benedictine priory.

They are designing a garden to replace an area of waste ground at the southern end of the site.

Earth piled up from an archaeological excavation in the 1970s will also be scanned by metal detectors for stray artefacts.

Peeblesshire Archaeological Society (PAS) has adopted a grave memorial in urgent need of conservation at Lyne Parish Church, near Peebles.

The unusual 18th Century stone has a carving depicting the Temptation in the Garden of Eden.

These stones were once common in the Scottish Lowlands and Borders.

Victorian attraction

The archaeological section of Perthshire Society for Natural Science are to expand a stone circle trail which they created as an Adopt-a-Monument project in the 1990s.

The current trail consists of the circle of Bandirran, Colen and Loanhead and will soon feature a further two sites still to be announced.

In the Western Isles, access to a folly - an elaborate architectural structure - will also be improved.

The octagonal tower on Scolpaig loch was built by the factor of North Uist, Alasdair MacLeod, in 1836.

Cromar History Group with support from Cromar Community Council and members of the public in Aberdeenshire are working together to restore a Victorian tourist attraction to its former glory.

Granite-lined mineral springs known as the Wells of Poldhu, near Logie Coldstone, have fallen into neglect.

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