Brora – Salt Pans – 16th and 18th century

 Virtual Histories Project –  Timespan Museum and Arts Centre.

 

The Virtual Histories Project is a collaboration between four museums (Eyemouth Museum, Shetland Museum, Taigh Chearsabhagh and Timespan) and the University of St Andrews School of Computer Science, The School of History and the SCAPE Trust.  

This project documents an significant archaeological site in the town of Brora in Sutherland, Scotland.

In 2009 a community excavation of the site took place.   The Brora saltpans community archaeology project: a partnership between the Clyne Heritage Society and the SCAPE Trust.

Using laser scan data, together with supporting information from the excavation, we have created a virtual reconstruction of the Salt Pans as they would have stood in the 16th and 18th century.

The site at the time of the dig and scan was under dire threat from coastal erosion, now, sadly, after some particularly bad storms in 2012 and 2013, the site has all but been washed away.   This highlights the importance of recording and learning from these coastal erosion sites that are in danger before they are lost.

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About the Site

Producing salt was a very important industry in Scotland, and the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Using coal from the most northerly outcrop in the UK, the Sutherland Estate constructed industrial buildings to house saltpans, large metal trays used to evaporate seawater.

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inside an 18th Century salt pan building

inside an 18th Century salt pan building

 

Inside a 16th Century salt pan building.

Inside a 16th Century salt pan building.

 

For more information see publications:  Digitally Enhanced Community Archaeology presented at the UNICEF and IEEE Digital Heritage International Congress 2013.

Virtual Histories Project - funded by Historic Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund

Virtual Histories Project – funded by Historic Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund

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