About ACFA

ACFA Field Archaeology for All Arc-eòlas do na h-uile 

Formerly the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists, ACFA, as we are now known, was founded in 1987. Since then, our members have acquired a range of knowledge, skills and experience in archaeological field survey that has gained ACFA an enviable reputation in Scottish archaeology. As a charity, we are mainly self-funding, and we often work in conjunction with other heritage and community organisations.

A group of people stand in a line on a grassy hillside with a view to distant fields and hills

A bit of history…

Founded in 1987, with the encouragement of course director Lionel Masters, by graduates of the Certificate in Field Archaeology, a qualification awarded by Glasgow University’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education, ACFA was designed to give the graduates of the course opportunities to exercise the skills and knowledge they had acquired. Read more about the early days in these two personal accounts and watch these short videos celebrating ACFA’s history and achievements.

Archaeology beyond the Gregory Building

Celebrating the Certificate in Field Archaeology

What we do…

ACFA seeks to continue this work by carrying out field surveys in Scotland. The Association is willing to undertake non-commercial surveys at the request of private individuals, local community groups, heritage and local history societies etc. Members who participate in surveys do so in a voluntary capacity and ACFA does not charge for its services, but seeks grants and accepts donations to offset costs. All surveys undertaken are recorded and the results published in our ACFA Occasional Paper Series, lodged with Historic Environment Scotland and other public bodies. To date, ACFA has carried out over 140 surveys in Scotland in areas as widespread geographically as the Hebridean islands of Tiree, Raasay and Luing, to the Halter Burn Valley in the Borders. Have a look at our list of publications for an idea of the breadth of our work.

In 2023 we embarked on an ambitious reimagining of ACFA, opening up membership to anyone, over 16, with or without experience and planning a training programme to keep our skills fresh and provide for new members . At ACFA we learn by doing as well as more formal training and everyone is encouraged to take part in surveys.

Membership costs £20 per annum and is free for anyone in full-time education.

Registered Scottish Charity SC 007099