© 2017 Aboyne Academy

Aboyne Academy

In June 2010, S1 pupils started working with local and national archaeology groups on what is thought to be the largest schools archaeology project of its kind in Scotland.

The project is based on the townships of Auchtavan & Loin on Invercauld Estates. They are abandoned communities in Glen Feardar and approximately 15 miles from Aboyne Academy. They are set in a high glen (450m up) in the foot hills of the Cairngorms.


S1 pupils surveying the abandoned settlement buildings with the help of volunteers from Scotland’s Rural Past


The project is ongoing and currently involves 130 pupils, 7 core members of staff from across a number of curricular areas plus the support of other faculties who help to contribute activities towards the overall outcomes in science, drama, social studies and design and technology. Support for learning staff also play a part to ensure that all pupils have access to the site and can fully participate in the learning experiences. All S1s have had a chance to visit and/or work on the site.


In addition there has been financial and/or in -kind support from 12 partner organisations and groups from the local community and across Scotland.


The overall mission is to encourage pupils to think about their part in the continuity and change that shapes their culture and their environment and establish and develop new skills that will inform their learning experiences into the future.


The main ambitions of the project are to raise awareness of the clearance communities and to get young people directly involved in supporting and developing a community enterprise at Braemar Castle. The pupils’ task will be to create a permanent record of the archaeology, history and culture of the community. This will be achieved in 2 ways;


a)  Through submitting the archaeological survey work to Canmore (http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/canmore.html)  via Scotland’s Rural Past and


b)  Through a permanent exhibition created by the pupils and based at Braemar Castle; enhancing the visitor experience of the Castle and raising awareness of the Clearance Communities. The pupils will have the full say in how the final outcomes are achieved. They will conduct the research and design the exhibition which will tell the story about what they have found out.


The project is being run through the S1 “Enterprise” course which runs for 2 periods a week. Given the links with local business and tourism, this seemed a natural slot within the curriculum to run a project on this scale. Bringing on board partners in the project was easily achieved as all the main contributors immediately identified huge benefits to working with the school. Having planned the outcomes and gathered broad support from the Archaeological and local community, ideas were submitted to Aberdeenshire Council, who were enthusiastic and supportive.


It has required all the internal and external expertise available, including the support of the local volunteer Archaeological groups.  Having young people at 450m is complex notwithstanding the tasks that they were required to complete and adequate vehicular backup and mountain expertise were required to ensure their safety. The fieldwork was achieved with many thanks to the Estate, the local farmer and a combination of committed staff, volunteers and Scotland’s Rural Past.


· In June 2010 Archaeology Scotland worked with the feeder primaries to provide transitional workshops on archaeology skills to the new S1s.

· August 2010: Pupils were involved with team building activities and film crews were trained.

· September 2010: 130 pupils undertook site surveys at Auchtavan, supported by SRP, Braemar Mountain Sports, Invercauld Estates

· October 2010: “Scotland’s People”, a genealogical organisation assisted documentary research about the community by providing free research credits and access to their on-line records. (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk).

· November/December 2010: The Aboyne Community Library provided research space and access to books and computers.

· January/February 2011: Liaison with Humanities, Drama, Design and Technology and Science faculties in order to achieve specific, specialist outcomes. Pupils participated in fund-raising to support the final exhibition.

· January/February 2011: Pupils worked with local business to test ideas and report on progress.


Using “Plane Tabling” to survey the remains of the abandoned settlement buildings


“The LOST? project has been identified as an example of good practice in outdoor learning by Learning and Teaching Scotland. In June 2011 LTS published a case study of the project on their website. Click here to access the case study.”


The project is being supported and funded by a wide variety of partner organisations. The Academy is very grateful to Invercauld Estate for support and access, Archaeology Scotland, Braemar Mountain Sports, The Catherine MacKichan Bursary Trust for Archaeology and to Scotland’s Rural Past nationally and through the volunteer time of local groups. In addition, the project is being part-financed by the Scottish Government and The European Community [Cairngorms Local Action Group] Leader 2007-2013 Programme.

S1 Enterprise: LOST? 2010/2011

S1 pupils surveying the abandoned settlement buildings with the help of volunteers from Scotland’s Rural Past

Using “Plane Tabling” to survey the remains of the abandoned settlement buildings