By Lucinda Dean
#ScotlandinSix is preparing to celebrate Scotland’s iconic World Heritage sites with events at each for World Heritage Day. Lucy Dean explains why on 18 April 2017 we should take a moment to consider our lost or yet undiscovered heritage alongside celebrating our iconic heritage sites.
We are people and, on the whole, people fascinate us more than anything.
Scotland’s iconic World Heritage sites – Edinburgh New and Old Town, St Kilda, the Forth Bridge, New Lanark, Neolithic Orkney, and the Antonine Wall will come alive on World Heritage Day as society engages with them, and ultimately we remember what makes these sites so special.
These sites are made whole and important because of people and the social history that imbues them. The built and natural heritage sites, whether well-known, hidden or waiting-to-be-discovered across Scotland are important to us because of the social history that they encapsulate. We want to know what people ate (and how they ate it) in a Neolithic Orcadian settlement, just as we want to know how the nineteenth-century engineers felt as they attempted to span the Forth with stone and steel.
Rediscovering lost stories of Perth
This interest in people and their narratives lies at the heart of the Perth Charterhouse Project. This quest to find and digitally recreate the religious foundation of James I of Scotland (reigned 1406-1437) in the city of Perth, and with it the burial site of the king and his queen, is not just an opportunity to regain a lost chapter of royal Stewart history. It allows a wider opportunity to rediscover the changing face of a city through the centuries, to give us insight into our collective social history.
Working with Perth’s people to rediscover, remember and relive
The dramatic story of treachery and murder that saw the king stabbed to death multiple times in the drain and lodgings at the Black Friars is one that shook Perth to its core. But this is just one story the city and its rich archaeological and historical record has to tell. This project hopes to help people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the lives of the friars who housed the king, the men who served him, the baker who provisioned the royal household with bread, the brewers, the tanners, the smiths, the stonemasons who created his magnificent Carthusian Charterhouse… What is more, it will give the modern day people of Perth a chance to take hold of how the past will be rediscovered, recorded, remembered and relived.
Spare a thought for our lost heritage on World Heritage Day
While we celebrate the #SixinScotland then, we should spare a thought for the as yet undiscovered or lost past that advances in digital heritage and virtual and augmented reality, coupled with the ‘traditional’ historical and archaeological skills can now bring us closer to rediscovering. From amazing finds, like the bones of Richard III at Leicester, to the digital recreation of the long-lost tomb of King Robert Bruce of Scotland from just a few small fragments, we have so much more to rediscover and recreate.
Follow us @james1ofscots to find out more and see how you can get involved…