a good readdocumentary researchplace name workshop (3)information from Arrochar Tarbet and Ardlui Heritage Groupplace name workshopinternet resources

Documentary Research

Historical research is vital to our knowledge of the past. Information from original documents can fill in gaps left by the archaeological record and add rich detail to our understanding of past events. It can take up a lot of time, and lead you in many directions, but it is always fascinating and exciting!

The Hidden Heritage Project arranged a series of workshops to give people some tips on how to go about doing their own documentary research, and to highlight some of the sources about the local area.

Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (now part of Historic Environment Scotland): Archaeologists from Northlight Heritage arranged a trip to RCAHMS in Edinburgh to introduce people to the wide range of resources they hold, and to look at the excellent collection of aerial photos that is archived here.

Aerial photos: Dr. Heather James (Northlight Heritage) ran a popular workshop at the Three Villages Hall in Arrochar to demonstrate the usefulness of aerial photos to archaeologists in helping to identify features in the landscape.

Place Names: Dr Simon Taylor (Glasgow University) provided an inspirational one-day workshop on place names. After a general introduction to interpreting Gaelic place names, he went on to discuss the possible origins of several, local names, including Arrochar itself (from arachor, a Gaelic term for a ploughgate). We're delighted to report that people were so fired up that a 'Place Name Group’ was formed to research and record the place names in the parish of Arrochar, using the recording forms and initial examples provided by Simon. Click here to access the downloadable resources. This group has now produced a booklet on 'The Gaelic Place Names of Arrochar Parish'.

Documentary Resources: Dr. Heather James (with research support from Cathy MacIver) ran a fascinating workshop to introduce people to a wide selection of documentary resources, many of which are available to read and search on line. Click here for a list of the links provided. These cover sources from early medieval charters to photographs taken within the last 100 years. Much of the more recent information has already been collected and made available by the Arrochar, Tarbet and Ardlui Heritage Group on their website.

Old Maps and Documents: Heather’s workshop was designed to whet people's appetites. In-depth workshop sessions on old maps and documents run by Eve Boyle (RCAHMS) in May, introduced more detailed analysis and information. A particularly useful source of map research can be found at the National Library of Scotland.


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