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The Project

Prestongrange is perhaps best known as a former colliery and brickworks site but originally Prestongrange emerged as a place of commerce and industry in the 13th century, making it one of the oldest and longest-lived industrial sites in Scotland.

The Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project first started in 2004 and was completed in May 2010. The main purpose of this archaeology project was to try and identify what survived of the industrial archaeological heritage of Prestongrange which preceeded the establishment of the colliery. Complimenting the archaeological fieldwork were programmes of historical research and local oral reminiscence.


Prestongrange is an open air colliery museum located between Musselburgh and Prestonpans. Standing remains of the 19th century colliery predominate the site but also visually disguise the fact that the site has had a lengthy and highly significant social and economic past.

The Prestongrange Community Archaeological Project (PCAP) was a heritage project developed and co-ordinated by the East Lothian Council Archaeological Service and Museums Service. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Scottish Power, the Friends of Prestongrange and East Lothian Council the project was launched in 2004 and was completed in May 2010.

The main over-arching aims of the project were to explore and investigate the pre-19th century coal industries at the site. 

We know from literary sources and historical maps that Prestongrange had been home to a 16th century harbour with an associated tidal mill, fort and vaults; a 17th century glassworks; and, an 18th century pottery-but what the project wanted to find out was - just how much of these remains survived beneath the ground.

In Phase One (2004-2006), the project attempted to locate and archaeologically evaluate these remains in order to see what survived of these earlier traditions. The results of this preliminary evaluation were then fed into a more comprehensive Second Phase of the project (2007-2010) where key aspects of the site being examined in more detail. The valuable information that has been produced from this project has now been fed into new on and off site interpretation.

The PCAP was a community-based archaeology project which offered opportunities for interested individuals, no matter what knowledge, experience or level of interest, to actively participate in an archaeological project. A 20-strong team of volunteers from the local community and neighbouring counties has been working alongside CFA Archaeology in locating and investigating the 16th-19th century remains at Prestongrange.


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