Anstruther, Cellardyke & Kilrenny Archaeological Project: Project Round-up & Book Launch

Tue 29 Aug 17

Dreel Halls, Anstruther

Thursday 31st August, 2017


The Anstruther Community Burgh Survey Project (, an exciting, year-long, HLF funded community archaeological project launched in late 2015, has now come to an end. To mark the event, and to pay tribute to all those who contributed, an end of project round-up will be presented at 7pm on Thursday, 31st August at the Dreel Halls, Anstruther Wester.

Specifically, the event will launch the book that was produced as part of the survey - Historic Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke - copies of which will be given away free at the event.

Fusing existing published literature with the results of the excavations, survey work and archival research carried out over the past year, the book presents, for the first time, a truly comprehensive study of the area from its prehistoric origins to the 19th century.

The volume will be of interest to all, young and old, specialist and non-specialist, and thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we have 300 copies to give away free at the launch.



Over £1.4 million of funding secured in 2011 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) and from Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), has allowed Fife Council (in partnership with the Fife Historic Buildings Trust) to implement a 5-year long programme of historic building conservation works at Anstruther, Fife.

Although mainly a programme of physical repairs to key public buildings, the underlying conservation ethos included a strong desire to assist the local community with the exploration of the history and archaeology of the area.

The Anstruther Community Archaeological Burgh Survey was launched in 2015 as part of the Anstruther THI/CARS. The aim was to give local people, of all ages and abilities, the opportunity to work with professional archaeologists and historians to explore the area’s fascinating past.

The excavations, survey work and historical research undertaken as part of the study have culminated in the publication of a new book: Historic Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke, the most recent publication in the Scottish Burgh Survey series.


Welcoming the launch of the new book, Council Archaeologist Douglas Speirs said:This volume is more than just another book on the Anstruther; it is an authoritative history of the area through time. Of interest to all, and at the same time, a manual for planners, developers and decision-makers, the book is a product of partnership working, a real collaboration by volunteers and heritage professionals. This is how history and archaeology should be done. It has been a hugely successful project, it lays down a marker for others to follow and in securing HLF funding to produce the book, means that everyone can now enjoy the results of the project for free.”

Other published outputs from the project include a new Heritage guide to the area, leaflets on the historic graveyards at Anstruther Easter, Wester and Kilrenny, a Children’s Activity Map, all of which will be launched, and freely available, at the event.


The Scottish Burgh Survey

The Scottish Burgh Survey series, formerly promoted and published by Historic Scotland, is widely regarded a beacon of best practice in engendering conservation, and in managing change, in historic urban settings.

The primary aim of the series was to characterise the history and identity of Scotland’s medieval towns and to quantify their archaeological potential as a baseline audit in informing decisions relating to planning and physical development. This core planning function was reflected in the subtitle given to the Surveys produced during the first and second series of the Scottish Burgh Survey: The Archaeological Implications of Development.

The third series continued this primary planning objective but recognised that the historical and archaeological details relating to the towns studied had relevance to an audience beyond those involved solely in planning and cultural resource management. Consequently, the model adopted for the third series was to produce a book that was of use and relevance not only to planners and cultural resource managers but also to students and to the wider public.

Historic Scotland no longer commissions Burgh Surveys. However, it has continued to encourage and support the production of independently-produced community studies produced in the Burgh Survey mould.

Historic Dunfermline: Archaeology and Development (2007) epitomises this new independent approach to historic town studies. The core objective of this volume remained true to the original spirit of the Burgh Survey series but its production and the dissemination of its message was achieved in a markedly different manner to those Burgh Survey studies which preceded it. For the first time, a central component of the survey was community involvement. Indeed, by inviting local people to become involved in the project, to undertake historical research and to take part in archaeological investigation fieldwork, a book was produced which was of use and interest to both the public, to planners and to cultural resource managers. Moreover, the involvement of the local community engendered a legacy of local interest in the welfare, management and promotion of the town’s upstanding and buried heritage and heritage groups formed on the back of the Burgh Survey project are still active in Dunfermline today.

Historic Kilrenny, Anstruther and Cellardyke has been be produced in this vein. Community involvement has be given a high priority. Engaging with, and involving the community in the research and results of the study has been a key part of the project. Community partners have included the Anstruther Improvement Association, the Community Council, local schools, Kilrenny & Anstruther Burgh Collection, the East Neuk Preservation Society and the Scottish Fisheries Museum along with many others. The book produced will be of value in managing the historic and archaeological potential of the town but it will also be produced in a format which will be of interest and use to a non-specialist local and wider audience.


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