Hello, my name is Nicola and for the past 5 days I have been given the opportunity to see what really goes on in the day to day running of an office environment. The fact that the office is within the Museum has made my experience even more exciting as I have been able to learn new things about the history of the local area and get involved in the marketing of the business. I have been extremely lucky to work along side Kay Owen who is the Museums Development Administrative Officer who has kindly given up some of her time to put together some work and look after me during the week.


When I first arrived at the Kilmartin Museum I was feeling very anxious and hesitant about the week in front of me. I wanted my work experience at the office to help me discover more about the marketing side of a business. I am contemplating studying a business course at university in a couple of years and have an interest in history so I thought this might help me. It incorporated not only my passion for history but also that of working with other people whilst experiencing office life for the first time.

As soon as I entered the office building I was put at ease. Everybody I met was so lovely and made me feel at home straight away.  Kay introduced me to all the different parts of the office and showed me around the grounds of the Museum (I even got a whiz tour of their exhibition which was very exciting).

When we got back I was introduced to Jane who helped me get to grips with the Museum’s Twitter, Facebook, blog and website pages.  I was also given the chance to write my first post on their Facebook and Twitter page about the upcoming guided tours and walks.

I then met Dr Sharon Webb, the Museum’s Director and Curator, who showed Kay and I pieces of Mesolithic flint from Jura. The Museum had been awarded the flint through Treasure Trove and is now one of the oldest things in their collection.  I even got to hold the piece of flint which was around 10,000 years old!! I learnt all about the flakes of flint and that they were used to form fishing spears, arrows and other weapons and tools.

I really enjoyed my first day at the office and loved meeting everyone.


In the morning I decided that I would write a little post about the new Mesolithic Flint that was awarded to the Museum. I researched a little bit more about the Mesolithic period and how the people would shape the flint by ‘knapping’ it to give it a sharp point and a smooth flat-face.

After lunch I was given an article and lots of photographs on the recent project by two Kintyre Primary schools about the Iron Age and Medieval Period. The pupils had learnt about the two Eras through their own interpretation and imagination and had went on to create a display about what they had learnt. From the images and information I was given I was able to write another post to put onto Facebook and twitter about what the children had achieved.


Kay and I spent the morning fighting with the Museums website whilst we tried to upload the article about the Kintyre Pupils. It was great to be involved with the technical side of editing the website. After a lot of intelligent guessing and undoing of commands, we finally managed to upload the post (without moving around too many things).

Later on in the day Kay explained to me all about the Redevelopment of the Museum and showed me a great website that gave information about the different charities that could possibly be willing to fund some of the redevelopment project. I am a person who loves to research so I enjoyed finding out about the different charities and if they would maybe help with the Redevelopment. I then made a spreadsheet which contained all of the information I had gathered.

At the end of the day I went with Kay to sit with the Café Manager and talk about entering the Café into an award. It was really interesting to be involved in the discussion and helped me to understand more about the different jobs and rewards involved in a business.


I sat in on the weekly staff meeting, learning about each person’s roles and projects that they had been working on. It was very interesting to listen too and I learnt a lot more about the Museum and organisation of the place.

I then decided to write a post about Kilmartin in the 1500BC and used a picture that I had taken in the exhibition to show what it looked like. I researched abit about the Linear Cemetery and included that in my post. I found it very interesting learning about it and couldn’t wait to share it with everyone!

For the rest of the day I designed a poster/leaflet about the guided walks and tours to put into the menus in the Café. Advertising the event was one of my favourite things that I did during the week as it involved abit of research and designing, both of which I love doing.


And now it is Friday and it’s also my last day. Writing this blog post has been a great way  for me to reflect on my week and I am now able to say that I will come away from this experience a lot more confident and positive about my future and what I want to do when I leave school.  I feel as though I have gained a lot from my experience here at Kilmartin Museum. I’ve learned about the different aspects of a business and have loved learning about the working life in an office.

I’d like to thank everyone at Kilmartin House Museum for having me and especially Kay Owen for spending the time to give me an insight into marketing and working in an office!

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Kilmartin Museum Archaeology Festival 2015

carnassarie 008

Kilmartin Museum is offering exciting opportunities to explore past lives and landscapes in Kilmartin Glen.

Between 8th and 21st June 2015 as part of the ‘Dig It’ programme, we will be leading archaeological excavations in the north of Kilmartin Glen and creating volunteer opportunities to help with our investigations.

Beyond the excavations we will also be exploring the wider landscape with a series of guided walks and activities that concentrate on some of the glen’s lesser known but equally important monuments.

The 2 week excavation period will start on June 8th and finish on  June 21st 2015.
We will be looking for volunteers from the local community and volunteers from the wider general public to help with the excavations. For further information about being a volunteer on the excavation please email
There will be an evening talk on the archaeology and past excavations of the Carnassarie area by Kilmartin Museum’s Field Archaeologist Roddy Regan on Monday 16 February 2015 at 7.00 pm in the Living Stones Centre opposite the Museum in Kilmartin.

Pupils from 3 local primary schools and the high school will be invited to take part in 4 days of excavations.
There will be a series of guided walks and tours open to the general public:

Guided walk of the Kilmartin Glen monuments – Wednesday June 10th & 17th led by volunteer guides

Guided walk & tour of the excavation site and surrounding archaeological landscape – Saturday June 13th & 20th led by Roddy Regan

Guided walk of prehistoric rock art sites in the northern area of Kilmartin Glen – Sunday June 14th led by Dr Sharon Webb

The evening talk and the guided walks and tours are free but donations are welcome.
Pre -booking is required for all talks/walks & tours.

If you would like to make a booking or require further information on all aspects of these activities and events please call Julia or Kate on 01546 510278 or email

Kilmartin Museum, Kilmartin, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8RQ

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Small Things – Important Connections

The Balure and Dun Fhinn glass toggle beads The largest bead is from Dun Fhinn measuring only 11mm in length.

The Balure and Dun Fhinn glass toggle beads
The largest bead is from Dun Fhinn measuring only 11mm in length.

We were all amazed and delighted a few years ago when we found two glass toggle beads when excavating the Iron Age dun at Balure, near Achnamara North Knapdale. Despite their intrinsic beauty and fact that they would originally have been worn as personal adornments 2000 years ago, we had no idea of their potential importance. This started to change when Clare Ellis of Archaeology Argyll (who also excavated at Balure) found a similar bead on an excavation at Kilninian on Mull. Further research by Clare and glass specialist Dr Martina Bertini of the Natural History Museum has shown these rare objects have also been found in Ireland and the Isle of Man and a few other west coast sites in Scotland. The latter includes a bead from the dun at Dun Fhinn in Kintyre excavated by F. Bigwood in 1966, the bead now held by Campbeltown Museum. It is speculated that these beads are manufactured locally re-using Roman glass and in order to shed light on how these beads were made and where the raw material comes from, the beads will be analysed using… wait for it… Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, which will tell us the trace elements present within the glass. This may ultimately give us some insights into trade patterns not only between Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man but longer trading routes with the Romanised world in the Iron Age.

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Kilmartin Museum Horticulture Course with Patsy Dyer

The Horticulture Day Course supported and funded by the Scottish Crofting Federation held at the Museum on 22 June was a brilliant day.


Patsy Dyer (RHS Dip Hort) covered a wide range of topics in the morning session. She did a particularly fantastic job teaching the group all about soil pests and diseases, with graphic images! Patsy also made the subject of crop management sound a lot of fun, and the group completed their morning session with a quiz on ‘knowing the vegetable family’ and then subsequently learning how each variety of vegetable and its care, fits into a 4 year crop rotation plan.


After a short lunch break, the group travelled to Tullochgorm by mini bus (grateful thanks to Forestry Commission Scotland for the loan of mini bus for the day) and spent the afternoon at the home of Laura & Mike Skelton. They have a fantastic set up with 2 polytunnels, 2 green houses and raised beds and all were brimming with beautiful and succulent vegetables.


It was great for the group members to hear how Laura and Mike set up the polytunnels in the first instance, and how they continue to manage their polytunnels, taking us through a typical calendar year.


Discussions between the group members, Laura, Mike and Patsy were on-going all afternoon and after a view of the apple orchard, we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea and final Q & A session in the Skelton garden.


Kilmartin Museum would like to sincerely thank Laura & Mike Skelton for inviting the group to Tullochgorm and to Patsy Dyer who executed a brilliant day’s learning on all things ‘Horticulture’.

There are more courses in this series with places on Land and Pasture Management (24 August), Woodland Management (30 August) and Willow Coppicing and Hurdle Making (22 November). Contact Julia for more information on these courses.



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Twilight at Temple Wood

TwiTempleWoodTemple Wood Stone Circle is a very special place in Kilmartin Glen.  It has a long history of use for at least two thousand years.  The purpose and use of stone circles is open to debate but it is generally accepted that they were places of special significance where rituals and ceremonies took place and a place where a sense of community was affirmed by the rites which took place there.

This sense of community was very strong on Saturday 22 March 2014 when, close to the vernal equinox, all ages gathered to enjoy and participate in a performance of art, music and storytelling.  After a very unpromising day with rain and wind,  the evening approached, the weather cleared and the tale of the Magical Monster Bear unfolded.

Fabulous banners were created by pupils at Lochgilphead Joint Campus

Drummers Drummed

The Choir Sang

The Juggler Juggled with Fire

And the evening concluded with a pot luck buffet in Kilmartin Museum Cafe where all agreed it had been a truly magical occasion.

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Kilmartin Museum Garden Diary February 2014


A group of enthusiastic volunteers turn up week in, week out (regardless of the weather!) to support Patsy, our resident gardener. Jenny and Laura’s garden diary demonstrates how much behind the scenes work goes in to maintaining our beautiful garden.

Snowdrops are flowering already, pussy willow buds are filling and heart shaped celandine leaves glisten in the borders. Secateurs and hand saws at the ready the shrubs and trees overhanging the car park are pruned well back. We learn how to implement a neat, non snagged cut! All the plants in the café are given a much needed drink, some requiring total immersion in a bucket.

We move geraniums, pelargoniums and other tender plants from the polytunnel to the café windowsills. All other seedlings in the polytunnel are checked for rodent or slug damage before being frost protected.

Fritillary bulbs are transplanted to the terraced bed beneath the café windows and the stone pot on the terrace is replanted with snowdrops and feverfew for early interest. The compost in all the tubs in the courtyard is replaced. The compost heaps are turned and well rotted compost is bagged up ready to be used in the spring for seed sowing. Patsy has already made a plan for the garden for the rest of the year and has ordered seeds to help implement her ideas. We look forward to seeing what Spring will bring.


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Great Auks Celebrate 40 years of Young Archaeology Club


Kilmartin Great Auks (affiliated to YAC young archaeologist club) had their first meeting for 2012/2013 season on 23 Nov 2012 at the museum After a big recruitment drive we had 14 children registering on the first night. We live in a very rural, sparsely populated area meaning that people have to travel considerable distances to be able to participate in our events so we were very pleased with the response.

The theme for 2012/2013 is ‘The Iron Age & Early Historic Period’. On the night children had reason to celebrate as it was the 40th anniversary of Young Archaeology Club (YAC is run by the council for British Archaeology). Julia Hamilton, one of the leaders of Great Auks made a fantastic cake featuring and Iron Age Broch.

Iron Age Broch cake to celebrate 40 years of YAC

Iron Age Broch cake to celebrate 40 years of YAC

The children blew out the candles of the celebration cake and then enjoyed eating it. The club will be visiting Tirefour Broch on the Island of Lismore in June 2013. Children also made their very own clay pots on which will be fired, and we would like to say a very big thank you to Argyll Pottery of Barcaldine near Oban who very kindly gave us the clay.

The next meeting is the Christmas party on December 7th and will take place in the Church Hall. Membership is open to school children from 6 years upwards. Under 8’s must be accompanied by and adult. The children learn a lot, enjoy interesting activities and go on field trips to see interesting sites. For more information on joining the Great Auks, contact Kilmartin Museum, 01546 510278

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