Chance to dig into history of Borders

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NEXT MONTH will bring free entry to Borders archaeological sites during Scottish Archaeology Month (SAM).

The annual festival of free archaeological celebrations takes place across Scotland throughout September. Museums, local authorities, universities, commercial archaeologists, local heritage societies and individuals will run more than 1,500 events to introduce people to Scotland’s past.

Co-ordinator Dr Mags McCartney says: ‘SAM just keeps on growing. This year we’re delighted to announce a variety of exciting events throughout the Borders. Highlights include a guided tour of archaeological sites at Campshiel Burn on Sunday September 18, an open afternoon at Coldingham Priory on Wednesday September 14 and, for those fancying a breath of fresh air, there is Coldstream and the Tweed: A Walk Along the Medieval Border on Monday 12.’

The Campshiel Burn tour will include the Peeblesshire Archaeological Sociey’s latest project, on whisky stills, retting ponds, and shielings.

There will be tours of Melrose Abbey by the local learning officer and with specially trained, costumed guides from Melrose Primary School.

One of the Tweed tours, from Coldstream, will be a six-mile walk with the Scottish Borders Council archaeologist and countryside ranger, passing Wark Castle before going through Hirsel Estate.

At Newcastleton, there will be a two-mile walk along the banks of the Liddle Water, including a look round the heritage centre. At Innerleithen a countryside ranger will lead a walk above the town and Walkerburn to see historic sites created to harness water power. There will be papermaking workshops in Innerleithen where paper milling was once a thriving industry.

At Coldingham Priory, the church, ruins and new garden will be open to visitors and there will be a walk in Kelso led by local historian Christine Henderson which will focus on the town’s two bridges and the contribution of the River Tweed to Kelso’s history

Scottish Archaeology Month is co-ordinated by Archaeology Scotland with the support of Historic Scotland and, along with Doors Open Days, is part of European Heritage Days.

A SAM spokesperson said: “Last year we saw an all-time high of over 1,500 separate activities which attracted around 45,000 people all over Scotland.”

For more information see www.scottisharchaeology month.org.uk