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Active management to improve the condition of sites of archaeological or historic interest

Option 21 - Active management to improve the condition of sites of archaeological or historic interest

archaeological site in field(Option closed to new applications from 2014)

What this is about

This option enables you to improve the condition of archaeological and historic sites through careful non-invasive management.

Archaeological and historic sites provide a tangible link with our past. They contain information that can tell us about how our ancestors lived, managed the land, worshipped, died, and how they shaped the landscape that we live in today. They are the only source of evidence for much of Scotland's past.

Archaeological and historic sites are vulnerable to damage or destruction from a number of natural and human actions. Once destroyed, an archaeological site cannot be replaced.

What this will achieve

This option will improve the condition of archaeological or historic sites. This will ensure that the sites are better preserved for current and future generations to understand and enjoy.

What you must do

Under this option, you will undertake to manage one or more archaeological sites. Management works carried out under this option must not involve ground disturbance or the introduction of capital items such as fences or gates, as these activities can damage or destroy important buried remains. If you need to introduce capital items such as fences or gates, you will need to apply to undertake these management works as part of a Rural Priorities option.

There are a number of ways in which you can identify archaeological sites on your land. Your local authority archaeologist may be able to advise. If you had an archaeological audit of your land for a previous agri-environment scheme, you can refer to this. Alternatively, you can consult PASTMAP ( http://www.pastmap.org) . PASTMAP is provided free of charge, but you will need to complete a short registration process.

If the site you are managing is a scheduled monument, you may require scheduled monument consent. It is important that you contact Historic Scotland for advice before making your Land Managers Options application. You should do this as early as possible, as Historic Scotland staff may not be able to deal with your consultation at short notice.

You must keep a photographic record of the condition of each site you will manage under this option by taking photographs before the management commences and again after 1, 3 and 5 years. These photographs must be retained for inspection purposes.

The following actions are eligible for payment under this option:

  • Bracken control: This should be controlled by hand spraying, hand cutting or crushing. Ideally, this should be repeated over a minimum of 3 years, so to deliver best possible management outcomes for the site, it is recommended that you select this Land Managers Option over a number of successive years.
  • Gorse, rhododendron, scrub or other woody plants: You should control gorse, scrub and other woody plants by cutting off carefully at ground level, taking care not to disturb the ground surface. Cut stumps should be spot treated with an appropriate herbicide. The cut vegetation should be removed from the site. Ideally, the site should be monitored with re-growth controlled as necessary over a minimum of 3 years. To deliver best possible management outcomes for the site, it is therefore recommended that you select this Land Managers Option over a number of successive years. If the trunk diameter of the vegetation you want to control exceeds 10 cm and the site is a scheduled monument, you must contact Historic Scotland well in advance of starting any work, as consent will be required.

Who can apply

All land managers can apply for this option.

How to apply

Complete Section 3 of the LMO application form use code LMOMAH. The amount applied for should be an estimate of 100% of the cost but the claim will be limited to the amount on the application.

Eligibility criteria

The land being managed must contain an archaeological or historic site(s) which are:

  • recorded on the National Monuments Record of Scotland or Local Authorities' Sites and Monuments Record or Historic Enviornment Record, and
  • either visible above ground, for example as banks, mounds, ditches and walls, or visible as archaeological cropmarks.

The following types of site are not eligible for support under this option:

  • places where stray artefacts (for example, arrowheads, axes or pottery) have been found in the past but where no further archaeological remains are known to survive
  • buildings, structures and engineering works that are still in use or are intended to be brought back into use
  • battle sites. However, archaeological or historic remains such as banks, mounds, ditches and walls surviving within battle sites are eligible.

Rate of support

We will pay 100% of the cost of site management based on receipted invoices. Own labour costs and own machinery costs are not eligible for payment.


From the photographic record the inspector will check there has been no degradation of the site and that there is no encroachment of vegetation on the site.


We will send you a claim form which you must submit along with the supporting documentation by 31 August in the year following application. A detailed invoice of any receipts or other documents must be submitted in support of your claim for payment.

List of links to relevant technical guidance

The following online sources may contain further information about archaeological or historic sites on your land:

http://www.pastmap.org - PASTMAP is a free online resource that allows you to access information about scheduled and unscheduled archaeological sites, listed buildings, and Inventory gardens and designed landscapes.

http://www.rcahms.gov.uk - The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland is responsible for recording, interpreting and collecting information about the built environment. Their website includes links to a number of searchable databases.

http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk - Historic Scotland safeguards the nation's historic environment and promotes its understanding and enjoyment on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Their website includes further information about scheduled monuments and their management.

http://www.algao.org.uk - The Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers. The ALGAO: Scotland part of the website contains links to a number of member's regional websites that may contain further information on archaeological and historic sites in your area.

http://www.scottisharchaeology.org.uk - Archaeology Scotland (formerly the Council for Scottish Archaeology) is a voluntary membership organisation that works to secure the archaeological heritage of Scotland for its people through education, promotion and support. Their website contains further guidance for rural land managers on the identification and management of archaeological sites.