About Hamish Darrah BA FSA Scot

Hamish Darrah – bowl turning


Tertiary Education and Qualifications
University of the Highlands and Islands 2014-2018, BA (Hons) (First class) Archaeology. During my degree, my focus of study was Scottish prehistory, specifically the Iron Age.

Career Summary
As an archaeologist, one of my main interests is wood technology. I am a passionate green woodworker and make a range of utilitarian objects. I use a pole lathe to turn mainly bowls. Where possible, I forge my own tools. I also carve spoons, make tool handles and a variety of other objects. Practicing woodworking with traditional tools and techniques continuously enhances our understanding of surviving archaeological evidence and can help us to inhabit the mindset of craftspeople of the past. I am also developing expertise in the analysis of archaeological wood and in dendrochronology, the latter as a technician to support Coralie’s dendro work.

Since 2012 I have worked as a part-time tree surgeon, with the Edinburgh and Lothian based business, Lord of the Trees. This has been invaluable for me as an archaeological wood specialist, as it has given me an understanding of trees in their living state.
I am a member of the Native Woodlands Discussion Group.

Since joining Dendrochronicle

Hamish Darrah – dendro sampling

I have been working with Dendrochronicle on a range of projects since October 2019. The first project I participated in was a HES commissioned historic wooded landscape study for Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway. I have assisted in the second year of Coralie’s SESOD (SE Scotland Oak Dendrochronology) research project by sampling timbers and preparing samples for analysis.

Hamish Darrah in the Shrew Pollard, Caerlaverock – Photo C Mills

Most recently, I have undertaken training at Kew Gardens in wood species identification under the microscope. This has enabled me to analyse a significant waterlogged wood assemblage from a medieval site in Scotland. The assemblage in question is expected to be fully published in the near future.