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Grants and Funding

Archaeology Programme funding

Funding for research and intervention projects which help to deliver Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy and rescue archaeological information from unavoidable threats.

1 Overview

The HES Archaeology programme funds research and intervention projects which help to deliver Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy and assist in the management of archaeological material. We strongly recommend that potential applicants read Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy before applying to us.

Our current funding priorities are:

  • Projects which demonstrate international collaboration
  • The provision of enabling funding to kick-start projects which deliver Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy
  • Projects which provide practical skills through archaeological field schools
  • Community led heritage projects
  • Projects exploring and utilising creative interpretation and dissemination
  • Projects that include an education programme/activities
  • Projects which demonstrate innovation in archaeological science
  • Projects delivering the strategic deliverables as set out in Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy Delivery Plan
  • Rescue archaeological remains from unavoidable threats and contribute to the longer term management of archaeological sites.

The programme seeks solutions to archaeological problems through partnership wherever possible.

We regard a project as complete when the results have been shared and, wherever possible, project data archived appropriately. You can download our handy guide on how you can share the results of your project. Additional funding is available to approved projects for radiocarbon dating and publication support.

2 Eligibility

Applications to the Archaeology Programme are welcomed from individuals, groups and organisations with an interest in furthering our understanding of Scotland’s archaeology.

This scheme actively contributes to the delivery of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, which was created by the archaeological Sector in Scotland. The Strategy aims to improve the way that archaeology is studied, protected, promoted and enjoyed, while integrating it more fully into peoples’ lives and broadening its appeal on a global scale.

What we do fund

Archaeology Programme grants are for projects which deliver Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy and rescue archaeological remains from unavoidable threats, increasing our understanding to enable the longer term management of archaeological sites.
Examples of funded projects include:
  • Assessment of types of coastal protection that could be applied to mitigate coastal erosion on sites.
  • Projects which model the archaeology at a regional or national level to help manage impacts, such as root action, animal burrowing or human activities including agricultural ploughing or marine development.
  • Archaeological projects that bring together professional archaeologists and community groups to generate new archaeological information and to present it in innovative ways.

What we don’t fund

We don’t provide Archaeology Programme grants to improve the condition of monuments or support their long-term management and we don’t usually give Archaeology Programme grants for:
  • Projects to deal with archaeology before or during developments that require planning permission
  • Pure archaeological research with no link to the programme priorities
  • Projects that have already begun without our involvement

3 Criteria for awarding grants

To qualify for consideration for an Archaeology Programme Grant your project must:

  • Help to deliver Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy
  • Achieve one or more of the following grant outcomes:

HERITAGE AND SOCIETY: The historic environment makes a real difference to people’s lives

HERITAGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT: The historic environment is looked after, protected and managed for the generations to come

HERITAGE AND THE ECONOMY: The historic environment makes a broader contribution to the economy of Scotland and its people

HERITAGE AND CREATIVITY: The historic environment inspires a creative and vibrant Scotland

4 How to apply

Please note that this programme is temporarily paused to enable the impact of the COVID-19 situation to be assessed. We will provide updates to existing grantees and potential applicants via our website and relevant networks in due course.

Expressions of Interest

If you are interested in applying for a grant from HES, you will need to submit an expression of interest first to receive feedback on your proposal. You can submit an expression of interest form at any time.

For archaeology applications, our Archaeology and World Heritage Team will contact you to discuss your proposal and whether your project will require scheduled monument consent. If it is needed, you must obtain consent before any works starts on site. We recommend you do not start work on your application form until you’ve received a response to your expression of interest.

Submit expression of interest


We can accept applications for Archaeology Programme Grants throughout the year, however, these are considered in one batch with a closing date of 30 September. Urgent projects can, however, be considered at any time of year. If you have one to discuss, please outline the relevant information in your expression of interest form.

Application is through our Grants Online Application System. New users must register to use the system.

Apply online now

HES is bound by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act. This means that any information that you send us or which is provided to help process your application may be made publicly available. However, any sensitive information you give us will be covered by the relevant legislation and will be dealt with accordingly.

5 Publication Grant

Archaeology Programme funded projects are eligible to apply for a publication grant, to help with the dissemination of project results. The level of funding available can vary, it is dependent on how much funding the Archaeology Programme has provided to the project as a whole, but will not usually exceed 75%, Please contact the Archaeology and World Heritage Team for more information. 

6 Contact

You can contact us with your questions about Archaeology Programme funding.


Archaeology and World Heritage Team
Historic Environment Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place