News in brief

A round-up of some of the latest news in UK Archaeology.

Secrets of scotch

Archaeologists from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) are discovering the secrets of Speyside malt at the old site of The Glenlivet Distillery in Upper Drumin (pictured right), as part of the ‘Pioneering Spirit’ project, a partnership between NTS and The Glenlivet.

Originally a farm, the site was converted to a distillery by The Glenlivet’s founder George Smith in 1824, after the 1823 Excise Act made licensed production of whisky possible. Previously, George, like many others, had been making whisky illegally, smuggling it to his customers. Besides two old mill dams, there are no above-ground remains of the distillery, but excavations have revealed the floor of the old building, as well as fragments of bottle glass and ceramics.

‘This is where the illicit production of whisky… and the transition towards larger-scale industrial production meet,’ said Derek Alexander, Head of Archaeology for NTS.

Brighton’s lost faces

An archaeology gallery featuring 3D reconstructions of Brighton and Hove’s earliest residents has won the category for ‘best exhibition, display, or interpretation’ in the Society for Museum Archaeology Annual Awards for Excellence 2020.

The Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery, which opened in 2019 inside Brighton Museum & Art Gallery (see CA 348), focuses on seven people buried in the local area between the Ice Age and the Saxon era, whose remains were scientifically analysed so that their faces could be re-created in forensic detail, down to the colour of their eyes.

Judges were impressed with the ‘sensory aspects’ of the exhibit, which uses film, images, and sound to give visitors an experience of life in early Sussex.

Project grants available

The Catherine Mackichan Bursary Trust is inviting applications for its 2022 round of awards. The Scottish charity supports research into the history and archaeology of Scotland and the border counties of northern England.

Eligible applicants include post-graduates, independent researchers, local history societies, and school groups looking for funding to support excavations, travel expenses, publication fees, or access to specialist research services. The Trust does not fund university undergraduate or postgraduate fees, or student living expenses.

Grants are usually between £250 and £500, but greater sums may be available. The deadline for applications is 16 April 2022. More information and application forms are available via the Trust’s secretary at