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Picturing the Past photography competition from Aberdeen University

Picturing the Past photography competition from Aberdeen University - University of Aberdeen launch Picturing the Past, a new photography competition aimed at professionals and amateur photographers of all ages.

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Press Release:

Craw Stane Pictish stone in Rhynie Aberdeenshire
The Craw Stane Pictish Stone near Rhynie in Aberdeenshire.

A photography competition challenging entrants to capture striking images of archaeological sites in the North East of Scotland has been launched today.

Devised by archaeologists at the University of Aberdeen, and funded by a Cultural Engagement Grant from the University, the Picturing the Past competition is aimed at budding and professional photographers of all ages.

From ancient stone circles to impressive hillforts, entrants are being asked to take inspiration from the wealth of monuments located within the Aberdeenshire area.

It is hoped the competition will encourage members of the public to discover and explore the variety of archaeological monuments in this region, as Dr Karen Milek, Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Aberdeen explains:

“An extremely high concentration of ancient and fascinating archaeological monuments, grace the landscapes of this particular part of Scotland. From Neolithic and Bronze Age stone circles to Iron Age hillforts, Pictish symbol stones and medieval castles, we are very fortunate to have an array of visually dramatic and emotionally evocative sites of interest."

“The Picturing the Past photography competition is designed to encourage members of the public to engage with these monuments and discover more about the archaeology of Aberdeenshire. From their historical significance to their place in modern times, we are asking entrants to use the media of photography to tell the story of these sites with distinctive and striking images.”

Applicants are invited to enter images of archaeological sites or monuments from the Aberdeenshire area, which are older than AD 1500.

Entries are invited under three competition categories: adult monochrome images, adult colour images and children’s images (for those under 16). A maximum of two submissions will be accepted from each individual entrant.


The winners of the competition will be decided by both a panel of judges and members of the public, who will be invited to vote for their favourite image from among thirty finalists in an online picture gallery that will go live in October.

The judging panel will consist of staff from Aberdeen University’s Archaeology and Education Departments, Marischal Museum, Aberdeenshire Council, and professional landscape photographer, Sandy Menzies.


  • An overall adult winner will be chosen from across both the monochrome and colour categories, and will win a cash prize of £1000.
  • Two cash prizes of £100 will be awarded to the runners up within both the monochrome and colour categories.
  • A first place prize of £50 and a second place prize of £25 will be awarded in the children’s category.

From November, the top ten finalists in each of the three categories will have their work displayed in an exhibition called Picturing the Past: The Archaeology of Aberdeenshire, at the Old Town House, in Old Aberdeen. The competition winners will be announced on January 24th 2009.

Karen continues: "The objective of the competition is ultimately to create a powerful and evocative exhibition that showcases the magnificent archaeology of Aberdeenshire."

“By their very nature some of the monuments within the region can be difficult to visit both in terms of their location and their accessibility. This is particularly the case for members of the public who are disabled, children, or people who don’t have access to transportation."

“The intent of the photography exhibition is to bring exceptional images of the widely dispersed archaeological sites together in one place, where they can be viewed as a collection that is readily available to members of the public. The Picturing the Past exhibition will tell an illustrated story of Aberdeenshire’s long and fascinating history.”

The closing date for entries to the Picturing the Past photography competition is 30th September 2008. For information on how to enter, please visit the website.



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