About ScARF

The Scottish Archaeological Research Framework is designed to be the go to resource for Scottish archaeology, one which provides an overview of the subject and also a set of useful and relevant research questions for everyone to use.

ScARF and Archaeology

The first ScARF national panel reports were published in June 2012. The full text is free to download as pdf files or is available to read online on this website. The nine reports (covering seven chronological periods and two overarching themes of Marine & Maritime and Archaeological Science) were the culmination of four years of work by over 350 experts in archaeology and related fields and provided a snapshot of the current state of thought as well as a set of research questions for the future. 

An additional framework Future Thinking on Carved Stones in Scotland was published online in 2017.

The current aims of the ScARF project are to:

  1. Develop regional research frameworks to highlight differences from the national picture across the geopgraphical regions of Scotland. This is a key part of ScARF's role in Scotland's Archaeology Strategy  More information about our work with regional research frameworks can be found at https://www.scottishheritagehub.com/regionalresearch
  2. Reinvigorate and update the nine original panel reports. We are always interested in adding new case studies to showcase research that has been undertaken since the original panel reports were written. Please get in touch if any of your work relates to the research priorities of the framework and you would like us to help update the panel reports. 
  3. Involve new and early career researchers in the project (see our Student Network)

See also: The 2012 Chairman's Introduction by Professor Roger Mercer.

The ScARF Project Manager is Helen Spencer. Please contact her at helen@socantscot.org with any queries related to ScARF.

ScARF and Museums

The ScARF project is currrently undertaking a 3-year collaboration with museums, working initially in Orkney and Aberdeenshire. Running from June 2016 until March 2019, ScARF will be supporting curators in developing research knowledge relevant to their own archaeological collections. Using the main broad themes of Farming and Fishing, the collaboration aims to highlight research gaps and encourage new research on existing collections. Since summer 2017, the project has focused exclusively on Aberdeenshire.

This will enable museums to use ScARF in a more nuanced manner, helping the Society to ensure the framework is up-to-date and fit-for-purpose. The project will engage new audiences with Scottish archaeology and build on the already strong support for ScARF within the historic environment sector (see also: Scottish Strategic Archaeology Committee, Our Place in Time). Through the process of continuing to develop links between museums and ScARF, the project will build resilience and capacity, increase collaboration, raise the profile of Scottish archaeological research and museums collections, and develop and share skills. ScARF is already used in a variety of ways (see our User Survey Infographic for more details), can provide best practice for future research initiatives to utilise, and is lauded across national strategic thinking; this project aims to build on this success.

Our dedicated ScARF Museum Project Officer is Anna MacQuarrie. Please contact her at anna@socantscot.org with any queries related to ScARF and museum collections.

ScARF is currently funded jointly by:



Chairman's Introduction from 2012


Presentations and Publications that members of the ScARF team have presented and written.