This document contains advice on how to plan and design your project and should be read together with the Project Design Form. It gives you some pointers that we hope will help you think ahead to ensure your project's success.
It is a good idea to give your project a title that can be linked to any surveys, publications or other work that you produce.
If you are planning to do fieldwork, the geographical extent and accessibility of your project area will have a big effect on how and when your fieldwork is undertaken. You might want to think about:
Be sure to note the grid reference for the site or for the area in which you are working (e.g. NH 5715 3825).
If you are working in a group, it is a good idea for someone to take on the role of group co-ordinator. This also means that we will have one main point of contact through whom we can arrange site visits, training, etc. It is very helpful if this person can act as group co-ordinator for the duration of the project.
Digital copies of field survey and research reports records created by community projects can be added to RCAHMS' collections and made available to the public, researchers and professionals via Canmore, RCAHMS' on-line database.
In order for RCAHMS to curate your material appropriately and make it publicly accessible, we need to ensure that all potential copyright issues are dealt with in advance. To avoid any complications in the future, we ask that copyright in records created as part of your SRP project are transferred to RCAHMS. This will not affect how you can use them or access them, but it will enable us to preserve them on your behalf. In recognition of your work, RCAHMS will confer a perpetual, non-exclusive licence to all members of the group to use the resources created by the group for study, research and publication. RCAHMS will also acknowledge your group as the creator of these records when they are displayed on-line and in any publications produced by RCAHMS. You and everyone in your group therefore need to think about how you wish to be acknowledged and let us know in the project design form.
Further details about transferring your survey records to RCAHMS are available in our Transferring Your Records to RCAHMS document. You should read this document and discuss it with all of your project members before you return your project design form to us, and certainly before beginning any field work. If you have any queries about this, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Most projects will involve a team of volunteers. The number of volunteers you involve and their abilities will affect what your project can achieve. You might want to think about:
We need to know whether all of your project members are happy for photographs of them to be included in any publicity material. This is because images of people, including photographs and films, are categorised as sensitive personal information under UK Data Protection law. For further information about this, please see our Photographic Consents document - please make this document available to all of your project members and ask them to tell you if they have any objections.
Most local councils employ an archaeologist to safeguard the interests of historic buildings and archaeology through the planning process and to maintain a local Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) or a Historic Environment Record (HER). They will be interested to hear about any new archaeological survey work in their area and the information it produces, which may be used to update their own records. We strongly recommend that you contact your local council archaeologist before you begin your project.
Contact details and further information about your Local Council Archaeology Service can be obtained from your local authority council offices, Archaeology Scotland (formerly, the Council for Scottish Archaeology), or by contacting the RCAHMS Community Archaeology team.
As well as thinking about what you want to do (see our guidance note on Project Ideas for suggestions), you should also think carefully about the size and scale of your project. For instance:
Your project outcome could be one or more of the following:
Please try and be as specific as possible. Remember that you can always start another project when you have completed your first one.
When thinking about how long your project will last, it is helpful to break it down into different parts. For example:
In this way, you should give yourself enough time to complete each task without rushing.
For projects involving field survey, remember to think about seasonal changes in weather conditions, vegetation growth, midge activity and land-use (e.g. lambing, stalking and shooting), as this will affect when best to do your fieldwork. Perhaps plan documentary research and data entry for the times of the year when your sites are less accessible.
For most projects, a timescale of one - two years is adequate to gather a meaningful volume of data, without becoming burdensome. However, longer or shorter projects may be more appropriate, depending on what you decide to do.
With the end of SRP in September 2011 support for field survey and historic document training will be limited, but advice on field survey, and historical research will still be available from the RCAHMS Community Archaeology team.
The following resources are available to help you undertake a survey of the historic environment
Now go to our Project Design Form.