Working with Burntisland Heritage Trust, Wessex Archaeology has designed and secured funding for a project to deliver archaeological skills workshops to encourage military veterans and local researchers to develop their skills while recording and assessing the heritage of Burntisland. The project is funded by Fife Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, with further support from Wessex Archaeology.  

Burntisland was the location of a 17th-century star fort used to defend Scotland during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the mid-1640s. Since then, the structure of the fort has decayed and been damaged by lime workings and 20th century defensive works. Burntisland Links, now a well-loved public space, was the site of a military camp for Hessian forces (German mercenary soldiers utilised by the British Government during the 18th Century) waiting to depart from Scotland after their campaign against the Jacobites (supporters of James II and his descendants) in 1745. 

Tickleness point, Burntisland Image taken by Gerry McGregor, Veterans Tribe Scotland
Above: Tickleness point, Burntisland. Image taken by Gerry McGregor, Veterans Tribe Scotland

The project, designed to employ heritage research as a means of addressing isolation and improving mental health issues, also records the heritage of Burntisland in the hope it will be better understood and appreciated by residents and more widely across Scotland.  

Our archaeological specialists have been leading workshops on heritage research, historic building recording, photogrammetry, the use of aerial imagery and archaeological report-writing, developing participant’s skills, building friendships and making valuable links between local heritage organisations and military veterans with an interest and ability to support local research projects.  

The skills workshops will continue over the coming months, after which we will support participants as they embark on local heritage research projects.  

Conducting a Geophysical Survey at Burntisland Links, to identify an 18th-century Hessian Camp
Above: Walking up to the 18th-century Lime Kiln (left) and Undertaking hand-drawn recording of the WW2 pillbox (right). Images taken by Gerry McGregor, Veterans Tribe Scotland

Upcoming workshops 

These workshops are free to attend and open to all, but military veterans have priority. For more information please email Ben Saunders ( 

17th April – The archaeological study of human remains 

Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the Medical Sciences Institute, Dow St, University of Dundee: 10.30-14.30

Human skeletal remains are our most direct link to understanding life in the past and their detailed study provides a wealth of information. This one-day course considers the methods used to recover information on age, sex and stature as well evidence for health and disease. Participants will discover the potential of scientific advances in the analysis of ancient DNA and stable isotopes and how these methods are employed in the study of human remains.