Trust wins lottery support for hill 
fort investigation

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Melrose-based historical society The Trimontium Trust is to lead a major investigation into an ancient hill fort in Dumfriesshire.

The trust, in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Museums Service, has been awarded £54,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake the work at Burnswark Hill near Ecclefechan.

The community project, which will last 12 months, will include excavations, interactive exhibitions and talks involving local volunteers.

“It will focus on the dark deeds which took place almost two thousand years ago during a massive and probably bloody Roman siege of the largest native hill fort on the border,” said Trimontium Trust chairman Dr John Reid, who has been fascinated with Burnswark since childhood.

“The site at the summit has not been explored to this degree by archaeologists for 50 years, during which time knowledge and techniques have improved considerably.”

The lottery award acknowledges that the project, supervised by a team of professional archaeologists and museum staff, will enable local people to gain new interpretive skills and “contribute to a new understanding of local history”.

Dr Reid, who lives in Galashiels and is a former consultant radiologist at the BGH, said techniques used during the investigation would range from conventional excavation to drone photography and 3D mapping.

He paid tribute to landowner Sir John Buchanan-Jardine and farmer Andrew McGregor for their “enthusiastic support and foresight”, and to archaeologist Andrew Nicholson and museums curator Siobhan Ratchford for their “expertise and unstinting assistance”.

The project will launch with a free public lecture in Ecclefechan’s Kirkconnel Hall on August 5 at 7.30pm.