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Let’s Talk About Erosion

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

Esther Renwick

November 2020

Sea levels around the world are rising more rapidly than ever before. Rising sea levels and increasingly regular and violent storm events mean that coastal archaeology is at ever increasing risk. Almost a fifth of Scotland’s coastline is actively eroding, threatening property and infrastructure worth £400m and over 12,000 known archaeological sites.

Stenness Fishing Station (c) E Renwick 2019

In 1996 Historic Environment Scotland (HES) commissioned a series of Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys to understand the full extent and condition of the coastal archaeology around Scotland. The surveys recorded archaeology, geology, geomorphology and erosion. In 2000, as a result of these surveys, the SCAPE (Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion) Trust was set up at the University of St Andrews. SCAPE set out to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the coastal survey process and at the same time began to manage a series of