1 Overview

The Archaeology Programme funds research and intervention projects to:

  • further our knowledge of the historic environment
  • rescue archaeological information in the face of unavoidable threats

The Archaeology Programme operates under Section 45 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and Section 11 of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014.

The programme seeks solutions to archaeological problems through partnership wherever possible. It very rarely funds the full cost of a project.

Project size and timescales aren’t the most significant criteria we look at when assessing funding applications. But we place a very strong emphasis on quality and on meeting agreed timetables, budgets and project completion criteria.

We regard a project as complete when the results have been shared and, wherever possible, project data archived appropriately.

Additional funding is available to approved projects for radiocarbon dating and publication support.

2 Eligibility

What we do fund

Most Archaeology Programme grants are for projects that rescue archaeological information in the face of unavoidable threats, or help us to assess the threats to archaeological sites and landscapes.

The most common threats are:

  • coastal erosion and related natural processes
  • semi-natural processes such as rabbit damage or regeneration of woodland
  • gradual processes resulting from human activities, like the destruction of sites by agricultural ploughing

Examples of funded projects:

  • fieldwork and reporting
  • conservation of excavated artefacts
  • specialist reports based on analysis of excavated material
  • publication of archaeological reports
  • disposal of finds to museums
  • research into information and techniques for managing sites and monuments
  • writing up important excavations whose directors are no longer active in archaeology
  • informing and educating the public about archaeological work

What we don’t fund

We don’t provide Archaeology Programme grants to improve the condition of monuments or support their long-term management. Historic Environment Scotland has other grants for such purposes.

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 outside the list of valid topics above, with no element of site-based investigation
  • projects that have already begun without our involvement

3 Criteria for awarding grants

Archaeology Programme funding decisions are made using a grant appraisal scheme.

4 How to apply

Applications for funding for the 2017-18 financial year are now being considered. After reading the guidelines, please fully complete the application form below and email the completed form to archaeologyprogramme@hes.scot.

Please note that your application form must be with the Archaeology and World Heritage Team by 5pm on Friday 30 September 2016. On receipt, all applications are acknowledged. If you do not receive an acknowledgement email, please email michael.elliot@hes.scot Funding decisions will then be announced in January 2017.

Urgent projects can, however, be considered at any time of year. If you have one to discuss, please just email archaeologyprogramme@hes.scot  and put ‘Emergency Bid Archaeology Programme 2016–17 – [name of your project]’ as the subject.

If you’re on our mailing list, we’ll email you a reminder at the start of September that the bidding cycle has begun. To be added to the list, email archaeologyprogramme@hes.scot. Put in the subject line, ‘Archaeology Programme 2017–18 – [name of your project]’.

Pre-application stage

You should get in touch with our Archaeology and World Heritage Team to discuss your proposal before applying.

You must also discuss with the team whether the project you’re applying for will require scheduled monument consent. If it is needed, you should obtain consent from the area team as soon as possible. Scheduled monument consent must be in place before any grant can be issued.  (We recommend you should begin the application process at least 3 to 6 months before work starts on site.)

Email archaeologyprogramme@hes.scot, with ‘Archaeology Programme 2017–18 – [name of project]’ as the subject.


Guidance for potential applicants [PDF, 286KB]

Archaeology Programme bid form [DOC, 157KB]

Guidance on the completion of Archaeology Programme Bid Form [PDF, 245KB]

Conditions attached to Archaeology Programme Grants [PDF, 217KB]

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. 

The Archaeology Programme also has an Open Access procedure [PDF, 420KB]

Open Access call for applications [PDF, 120KB]

Publication Grant bid form [DOC, 125KB] 

Conditions attached to Publication Grants [PDF, 376KB]


For more information on previously funded projects download the Archaeology Programme - available soon.

5 Contact

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

Email: archaeologyprogramme@hes.scot
Telephone: 0131 668 8811

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