Guardians of Scotland's heritage release tartan to mark 240th anniversary

The guardians of Scotland’s heritage and archaeology have produced a tartan for the first time.

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Fellowship Tartan
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Fellowship Tartan

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland has released the cloth to mark its 240th anniversary.

The Society is the oldest antiquarian society in Scotland, founded in 1780, to provide an independent forum for the study and conservation of Scotland’s past.

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It funds research into Scotland’s archaeology and history, publishes books and papers, and has around 2,700 members worldwide.

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Fellowship Tartan is based on the Black Watch tartan, the oldest Regimental tartan first described in 1739.

A pair of grey tramlines represent the numerous artefacts found by and described by the Society, and two red tramlines to represent the tartan of David Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, who founded the Society in 1780.

The pairs of tramlines indicate the close attention paid by the Society’s members and journals to the detail of their work.

The tartan will be officially revealed at the Society’s 240 th Anniversary Meeting and AGM on St Andrew’s Day.

Dr Simon Gilmour, Director of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, said: “It is perhaps remarkable that the Society, so closely associated with the history and heritage of Scotland for the last 240 years didn’t have a tartan.

"This was the perfect opportunity to create a lasting symbol to thank the members of the Society for their support.”

The tartan was designed by competition with a panel of experts assessing the contributions by members and choosing the winning design.

The 240th anniversary will also be marked by the Rhind Lectures 2020, an online event which this year will look at Neolithic Scotland and take viewers back more than 5,000 years ago.

The six free online lectures will spotlight work from renowned archaeologist Dr Alison Sheridan FSAScot, who will reveal the latest research on how Neolithic Scottish society was organised as well as look at the health, wealth and relationships of the communities who lived in Scotland from 4,100 BC to 2,500 BC.

The Rhind lectures are open to all and will premiere on the Society’s YouTube channel at 6pm every evening from Sunday 13 December.

On Friday, December 18, a Q&A session will be held with Dr Sheridan via Zoom.

To register for the final lecture and Q&A, visit

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