Just over two years ago, in November 2015, Kilmartin Museum organised a two-day symposium to bring together all those researching the archaeology and history of Argyll. The symposium brought together a wide range of expert speakers from the world of archaeology, who each gave presentations on their own views as well as on recent wider work being carried out on the rich past of Argyll.
Not wanting the conversation to end there, and given the huge body of knowledge and goodwill generated by the Symposium, we decided to develop this into a Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll. An overall Scottish Archaeological Framework was published by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2012 and Argyll is the first Scottish region to produce a regional framework.
There are six period based chapters of the RARFA, covering from earliest prehistory to the present. Each of these contain a set of recommendations for future work and questions that are waiting to be answered. The RARFA also contains an environmental history of Argyll and Bute and a number of case studies that provide a more detailed look at certain aspects of the region.
All research frameworks are intended to be ‘living’ documents, which develop over time with additional information, new views and different arguments being added. They are never complete or perfect and should perhaps be seen as the first stage in an ongoing conversation.
As well as being a useful resource for anyone interested in the archaeology of the area, the RARFA will help to deliver the strategic objectives set out in the Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy Delivery Plan (2017), in particular Strategic Objectives 2.2.2 (review frameworks, their gaps in coverage of methods and theory) and 2.2.3 (support local/regional and thematic research frameworks), and provide many ideas for future work in the region.
The Regional Archaeological Research Framework for Argyll is freely available and downloadable as a PDF, available here.
Kilmartin Museum is very grateful to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for funding the RARFA, and to all the academics, commercial archaeologists, planning archaeologists, heritage managers and community group representatives who have contributed to the Framework, particularly the people who wrote sections in their spare time.
All this work has proved extremely valuable for the Museum’s Evolving Interpretation Strategy, which is being developed as part of the Redevelopment Project.