Ms Emily Johnston

Thesis title: Creating a Framework for Community Engagement in Scottish Commercial Archaeology


3rd year PhD student in Archaeology. 

Thesis title: Examining Community Engagement in Scottish  Developer-led Archaeology. 

I have created OScA - Outreach in Scottish Archaeology - which is an archive of community outreach activities occurring in Scotland since 2000. 

I have worked in the Scottish commercial sector as an archaeologist (PCIfA), and enjoyed engaging with the public at a variety of sites. My interest in communicating history, heritage and archaeology has developed throughout my studies, and in a variety of work placements, such as Visitor Assistant roles. 

I am passionate about archaeological outreach and education. I have gained experience working within the education system, as a Pupil Support Assistant, and am a leader of the Young Archaeologist's Club in Edinburgh.  

I am the Outreach Officer for the Holyrood Project and delivered outreach programmes including social media, youtube videos, school visits and open days (


MA (with hons) Archaeology - The University of Edinburgh

MA Archaeology - Durham University

Undergraduate teaching


Archaeology 1A

Archaeology 1B

Greek Art and Archaeology

Roman Art and Archaeology



Archaeology 2A

Research summary

My PhD thesis, titled "Examining Community Engagement in Scottish Developer-led Archaeology", explores the ways in which communities are engaged with archaeological investigations. This research examines the current state of community engagement in Scotland, considering the values generated for the different stakeholders, and looks towards future methods of implementation. 



Current research interests

I am interested in studying the ways in which people interact with archaeology, understanding learning motivations and active and passive forms of engagement. My research takes into consideration public benefit, and explores the values of archaeology to different stakeholders.

Past research interests

My Master's thesis, titled "Hashtags, Likes, and Visitor Feedback: A Case Study at Aeclanum" explored the development of outreach at the Roman site of Aeclanum, in Italy. My research considered the digital impact of the site, utilising data mining techniques to understand the digital profile of visitors, and compared this to on-site visitor surveys. These results were used to target outreach development, which was bespoke to the interests of visitors.

Project activity

I have created an interactive database of community outreach activities in Scotland, titled OScA: Outreach in Scottish Archaeology. 

Throughout my research, I have noted a lack of standardised reporting of community outreach activities, across the sector (i.e. top-down and grassroots approaches). I have since compiled a database of activities from 2000, utilising information supplied to DES. I received funding from the Edinburgh University Student Experience Grant to develop the database into an interactive and accessible website for the sector. This website can be searched for key terms and locations and provides an overview of activities across Scotland. It addresses several of the aims of the Scottish Archaeology Strategy and can provide key metrics for the development of community archaeology in Scotland. 

Current project grants

The University of Edinburgh Student Experience Grant