Archaeological project gets underway to unearth Anstruther’s hidden past

£1.4 million funding boost gives rise to historic building conservation work and archaeological community survey

A major archaeological project is now underway in Anstruther to conserve and regenerate the town’s historic buildings, as well as explore its hidden past.
The year-long initiative – dubbed the Anstruther Community Archaeological Burgh Survey – is being driven by Fife Council, in partnership with the Fife Historic Buildings Trust, following a £1.4 million funding boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Town Heritage Initiative and Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme.
The funding, which was secured in 2011, has enabled the Council to initiate a five-year programme of historic building conservation works which are ongoing in the town.
Although the project, which is being delivered by Kilwinning-based Rathmell Archaeology, is mainly a programme of physical repairs to key public buildings, the Council says the underlying conservation ethos includes a strong desire to help the local community explore the town’s history and archaeology.
According to Fife Council, the survey will give locals of all ages and abilities the chance to work with professional archaeologists and historians to explore the town’s past.
The archaeological excavations, survey work and historical research study will culminate in the publication of the Scottish Burgh Survey series and a new book in 2017 entitled ‘Historic Anstruther: The Archaeology & History of an East Neuk Burgh’.
Fife Council archaeologist Douglas Speirs, said: “The Burgh Survey will be more than just another book on Anstruther. It will be an authoritative history of the town; interest to locals and at the same time, a manual for planners, developers and decision-makers.
“It will be produced by heritage professionals and delivered via a programme of community engagement that will provide real opportunities for local people to actively engage with the town’s heritage through a variety of hands-on archaeological and historical projects.
The survey’s key community partners are expected to include the Community Council, local schools, Kilrenny & Anstruther Burgh Collection, the East Neuk Preservation Society, and the Scottish Fisheries Museum.
According to the Council, the book will be of value in managing the historic and archaeological potential of the town and produced in a format that’s of interest and use to a non-specialist local and wider audience.
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