GUIDELINES FOR THE PRESERVATION OF
AREAS OF RIG AND FURROW IN SCOTLAND
compiled by John Barber
Agriculture was introduced into Scotland, ultimately from the Near East,
probably in the fifth millennium BC. Successive populations have altered
the landscape to cultivate and to create pastures for their herds and
flocks to an extent that has so affected the British landscape that there
is now no part of it that is truly wild.
Cultivation remains, especially areas of rigs and furrows, are the clearest
presentation of this domestication of the landscape and, for some periods,
are the only evidence we have for human activity in the landscape. Thus,
though humble and ubiquitous, areas of rig and furrow constitute part
of Scotland's heritage.
This report shows that there are regional, and chronological differences
in the form of surviving rig that reflect different geographies, the local
histories of agricultural evolution and the nature and date of the final
or current land-use.
However, although detailed studies have been rare in the past, this report
shows that recent regional studies based on consistent records from individual
sites will contribute significantly to our understanding of past agricultural
practices in Scotland.
This guideline contains a set of recommended minimum standards for preservation
in situ, or by recording in advance of destruction, of areas of rig and
furrow cultivation. A body of competent experts, drawing on a wider pool
of knowledge by consultation, has drafted this guideline as a recommendation
to planners and other heritage managers. It has received the support of
the Scottish Trust for Archaeological Research and of Historic Scotland.
This guideline focuses upon the requirement for a policy for the protection
of certain important areas of rig and furrow in advance of development.
Many of the issues raised in the guidelines relate to the relative value
of different areas of rigging in the Scottish landscape. Therefore a number
of issues raised in this guideline will be relevant to land management
considerations, including the selection of particular areas of rigging
for management under agri-environment schemes and other initiatives.
Date of publication 2001 ISBN: 0 9539978 0 4 pp 28 B&W illus