Seeds of Different Futures

Seeds of Different Futures: Exploring Deep Time Archaeology
with Gavin MacGregor and Jo Clements / Strath of Kildonan

This field trip is part of the Practicing Deep Time conference taking place at Timespan and in the surrounding environments of East Sutherland and Caithness on 23 + 24 March 2018. For more details and information on how to book please visit the Practicing Deep Time page. 

The Strath of Kildonan has a long time depth of human use and occupation stretching back at least 6000 years. Today, the archaeological remains can be difficult to access: they are often far from the road over rough terrain, and it can be hard to imagine that once real people raised long cairns and brochs, let alone feel a connection with them.

Join us as we take a journey through some of the lesser-visited sites of the Strath of Kildonan, in which we will ask: what is the purpose of such a journey? Does the present impact our understanding of the past of these sites? What are our received views of the meanings of such sites in the present? Are they the most productive ones for our future? Are we even asking the right questions yet? Does encountering sites of deep time potentially change the futures we imagine?

Visiting a range of archaeological sites in the Strath of Kildonan, including long cairns, a standing stone and a broch, we will consider these questions in dialogue as a group.

This field trip has been developed by Gavin MacGregor in collaboration with Jo Clements, Timespan’s Archive Development Manager and Project Manager for the CINE project. For Jo, the programme also becomes a way to think through some of the wider questions and issues raised during the process of the CINE project thus far.  


Gavin MacGregor is a heritage professional with consultancy and research experience in the assessment, evaluation and interpretation of archaeological sites and collections. He specialises in the historic environment components of interdisciplinary, landscape scale projects, from a future orientated perspective. An Honorary Research Fellow at University of Glasgow, he holds a PhD in phenomenological approaches to interpreting ceremonial prehistoric monuments of Aberdeenshire from a landscape perspective. He also practices as an artist producing a range of works in recent years including, by an extended journey in 2016 through The Flow Country, a joint exhibition There Is an Equilibrium Here at North Lands Creative.

Jo Clements is Archive Development Manager at Timespan, and Project Manager for the CINE Project. Her interests lie in how and why people write history, from the users of community archives, to the music historians of eighteenth-century Scotland

Connected Culture and Natural Heritage in a Northern Environment (CINE) aims to transform people’s experiences of outdoor heritage sites through technology, building on the idea of “museums without walls”. Using new digital technologies including augmented reality, virtual world technology, and easy to use apps, the project will bring the past alive, allow us to visualise the effects of the changing environment on heritage sites, and help us to imagine possible futures.

Behind the scenes CINE will develop content management toolkits – enabling curators, archivists, historians, individuals and communities to make innovative heritage projects to create unique on-site and off-site customer experiences in specific locations.

More broadly CINE will explore the social, economic and political role of heritage within our remote communities and develop best practice to shape relevant environmental policies