Deterioration and loss of the historic environment due to natural processes already outpaces available resources for action, and the effects of climate change will accelerate the threat over the coming century. This brings an imperative to grasp the issue of heritage loss and prioritise action and resources. In order to prioritise, we need to have a clearer understanding of what and where is most vulnerable, what is the value of heritage to people, what ranges of options are available for taking action, and who should be involved in the decision-making process.

This is what Learning from Loss programme set out to do. During a twelve-day fieldtrip and series of workshops, over 100 participants comprised of researchers and practitioners from the US and Scotland, working alongside community stakeholders, used their collective expertise and experience in threatened coastal archaeological heritage and carved stone monuments to examine the issues.

The aim was to provide insights into how we manage change and foster greater understanding of climate change impacts in Scotland by 2030.

Outcomes from the programme have been used as a resource for a wider audience to learn about and apply the findings in their own work, as well as for Historic Environment Scotland in their Archaeology Strategy.



To mark 10 years of SUII, we designed a series of posters and collaborated with Woods Noble Video to produce videos showcasing some programmes supported by SUII between 2012 and 2022.

Visit our Insights page to find out more about the 10 Years of SUII.



Programme Team

Tom Dawson, University of St Andrews
Professor Sally Foster, University of Stirling
Sian Jones, University of Stirling
Joanna Hambly, University of St Andrews
Qian Gao, Durham University
 (previously University of Stirling)
Kirsty Owen, Historic Environment Scotland

Mairi Davies, Historic Environment Scotland
Hugh McBrien, Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers
Marcy Rockman, U. S. National Park Service
William Lees, Florida Public Archaeology Network
Sarah Miller, Florida Public Archaeology Network

Final Report


Project Video

Learning from Loss Climate Stories

A selection of Climate stories written by Learning from Loss programme participants, about Scotland's eroding coastal and carved stone heritage inspired by the US National Parks Service "Every Place Has a Climate Story " approach.


Story Map


Learning from Loss in FPAN Conversations about Conferences: Scotland Edition

In conversation with her colleagues back at home, Sarah Miller, Regional Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network reflects on her experience and take-homes from the Learning from Loss Scottish programme.

Bringing social values into the prioritisation of heritage sites: a question of resilience?

Liz Robson and Qian Gao, researchers at the University of Stirling, tackle significance and prioritisation in their reflections from the Learning from Loss Programme.


Workshop Documentation

Summary of the main findings from community workshops held in East Wemyss, Fife and Sanday, Orkney and a workshop held with programme participants and colleagues at Historic Environment Scotland.

East Wemyss Workshop

Sanday Workshop

Historic Environment Scotland Workshop


Journal article

Dawson T., Hambly J., Lees W., Miller S. (2021). 'Proposed Policy Guidelines for Managing Heritage at Risk Based on Public Engagement and Communicating Climate Change'. The Historic Environment: Policy and Practice 12.3-4, 375-394.

DOI: 10.1080/17567505.2021.1963573