Discovery and excavation in Scotland (DES) provides an accessible, comprehensive, up-to-date and informative guide to archaeological work being undertaken across Scotland. It is a highly respected resource for archaeological research at all levels and is unique in Europe. The Journal records fieldwork undertaken by commercial units and archaeologists, local societies, university departments, community groups and independent archaeologists in Scotland each year. Entries are recorded by region for quick reference and regular appendices include information on museum acquisitions - Treasure Trove finds, radiocarbon dates and current post-graduate research relating to Scottish archaeology. DES is launched each year at the Archaeological Research in Progress conference (ARP), organised by Archaeology Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Back issues of DES may be accessed and searched for free online via the Archaeology Scotland website. They may be accessed on the DES project page or the publication page. Archaeology Scotland members who choose enhanced membership may view the two most recent copies. Alternatively the two most recent journals can be purchased in hardcopy format, by contacting the Archaeology Scotland office.


Since the first volume in 1947 Discovery and excavation in Scotland (DES) has played a vitally important role in Scottish archaeology. Each new issue offers a simple way to keep up to date with current work in the field, and the back issues provide a research tool for anyone seeking information about the archaeology of Scotland.

The full run of DES is now available digitally. They may be downloaded for research and teaching purposes but must not be resold or made available on any other web site or any other medium with or without charge, unless with the prior written consent of Archaeology Scotland and the relevant copyright holders. The digital archive may be accessed via a link on the Archaeology Scotland website.

DES is not intended as a medium for final publication. It is a reference work, an annual summary of activity in technical form. A fuller account will eventually appear in print elsewhere, and/or further detailed records will be deposited with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS: formerly referred to as NMRS) and in the appropriate museum service. It is a condition of Historic Scotland funding that entries should be supplied for publication in DES.

Archaeology Scotland publishes DES as a service to its members and to archaeology generally. It is aimed at a readership with a specialist interest in archaeology and welcomes contributions from all sectors of the archaeological community. Its production represents a significant percentage of Archaeology Scotland’s annual income. Financial support is received from various bodies for entries relating to their work, and further contributions are received for reports on developer-funded projects.

DES aims to provide a rapid, comprehensive summary of all archaeological work undertaken in Scotland each year by the end of May in the succeeding year. This imposes a very tight timescale on the production process. These considerations underlie and constrain the editorial policy. It seeks to balance maximum information value and accuracy with speed of production and minimum cost. 

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