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A four-day archaeological research conference in March will stake out a regional research framework for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

The symposium opens in Orkney on Friday, March 24 is the last piece of the development of Scotland’s Islands Research Framework for Archaeology.

Up to 120 people from across Scotland and beyond are expected to attend the event being formally launched by Neil Gray, MSP, Scottish Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development.

The symposium from March 24 to 27 is open to all stakeholders of island archaeological research and those who engage with that research, such as museum professionals, commercial archaeologists, academic researchers, archaeology students, community heritage groups, independent researchers and local and national government agencies.

The resulting regional research framework for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles will be set within the broader Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). SIRFA is tied into The National Plan for Scotland’s Islands, which resulted from the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, and has synergies with the Islands Growth Deal, especially the heritage-related projects such as the Outer Hebrides Destination Development and The Orkney World Heritage Gateway.

The project began in July 2018 and is coordinated by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Archaeology Institute staff in partnership with Local Authority archaeologists at the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), Shetland Amenity Trust and Orkney Islands Council.

The project is supported by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers Scotland (ALGAO) and funded by Historic Environment Scotland as part of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.