About Us

TAFAC is a group which holds meetings three times a year at various venues throughout Tayside and Fife.

Membership of the Committee is by invitation, but anyone who feels that they have a contribution to make can put their name forward for consideration.

There is no Ordinary Membership, but anyone who wishes to receive copies of the minutes of the Committee meetings, Newsletters and Annual Reports, can, for the sum of £10.00 per year, become a Corresponding Member by post. If you are happy to receive all information by email this service is free. To become a Corresponding Member contact the Mailing Secretary.

Anyone who has attended one of our conferences is automatically sent information about the next one.

The Committee

ChairMoira Greig worked as Archaeologist for Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus Councils before retiring from local government. She specialised in archaeological aerial photography and is a member of the international group, the Aerial Archaeology Research Group. She is the originator and leader of the Mason’s Mark Project, which undertakes surveys of stonemasons’ marks in many stone buildings over Scotland, working with local groups. At present she is also on the Board of Trustees for Archaeology Scotland and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Archaeologists.

Vice-chair Rachel Benvie is originally from Hertfordshire. She graduated with an MA in Archaeology from Cambridge University in 1985, and gained a postgraduate qualification in Museum Studies at Leicester University. She came to Montrose Museum as Assistant Curator in 1987, becoming Curator in 1991 and continuing to serve the Angus community until 2019. She served as Chairman of TAFAC from 2008 to 2011 and is our current Vice-chair.

Mailing Secretary: Eva Bennett is a member of both the Abertay Historical Society and the Archaeological Section of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science. She has been involved in Tayside archaeology since the early 1970s, when she dug at Elcho Nunnery with Dr Margaret Stewart. Eva is responsible for maintaining the list of corresponding members, distributing material to them and much else besides.

Treasurer, Newsletter Editor: John Sherriff manages the Archaeological Survey Team within the Heritage Directorate at Historic Environment Scotland. A native of Perth, he graduated with an honours degree in Archaeology from University College, Cardiff in 1978. Following a spell with Angus District Museums (1980-84), he worked for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) from 1986 to 2015, undertaking survey all over Scotland. He has a particular personal interest in aspects of archaeology that appear to him to be otherwise neglected, including boundary stones, milestones, finger-posts, disused roads and so much more.

Publications Editor, Minutes Secretary: Derek Hall gained a Certificate in Practical Archaeology from the Dorset Institute of Higher Education and from 1976 to 1980 worked on excavations throughout Scotland and England. In 1980 he joined the Urban Archaeology Unit, the predecessor of SUAT Ltd. After a spell as a Senior Supervisor (1982-85) on several major excavations, he was appointed Field Officer, and eventually Depute Director. He has an extensive knowledge of Scottish burgh archaeology and considerable experience in the study and identification of Scottish medieval pottery. Since the demise of SUAT in July 2009 he has operated as a sole trader.

Oliver O’Grady is a landscape archaeologist, lecturer and researcher, based in Perthshire. His PhD in archaeology was awarded for the first national survey of medieval judicial assembly sites in Scotland. He is the director of OJT Heritage and served as TAFAC Vice-chair from 2018 to 2020.

Christina Donald  has been curator of Early History at the McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum since 2004. She has an MPhil in Archaeological Studies from Glasgow University and one in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Christina chaired TAFAC from 2006 to 2018.

Steve Liscoe has been part of the Fife Council Archaeological Unit since 2004 and has served as TAFAC Vice-chair, frequently chairing our conference sessions. Formerly a full time member of the Mary Rose Trust excavation team he was on staff at the Scottish Institute of Maritime Studies, based at the University of St Andrews, for thirteen years as a research and operational member of the UK Govt. Archaeological Diving Unit, undertaking hydrographic survey and diving inspection of Designated Historic Wreck sites.  It’s therefore no surprise that he has a particular interest in maritime archaeology.

Archie Dick is a Physics teacher at Forfar Academy. He graduated from Edinburgh University with an honours degree in Physics in 1979 and after a number of years on the digging circuit he entered the teaching profession. He returned to archaeology in an amateur capacity in 1989 and has worked mainly in the Kirriemuir area, particularly at the Neolithic and Iron Age site at Auchlishie.

Mark Hall is the History Officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery (Culture Perth and Kinross). He hails from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, and attended the universities of Sheffield and Leicester. Since 1984 he has worked on a diverse number of archaeological sites and in a variety of museums, coming to Perth in 1995. He has been a member of TAFAC since 1995, was its Chairman from 1997-2004 and is a member of the TAFAC editorial sub-committee.

Alan Hunter is a longstanding member of Perthshire Society of Natural Science Archaeological Section, with close ties to Perth.

Catherine Smith is an animal bone specialist who has worked on faunal remains from archaeological sites throughout Scotland. Born and educated in Dundee, where she attended the former Dundee College of Technology, she has a strong connection with Perth, having worked for the Perth High Street Archaeological Committee, Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust/SUAT Ltd and Alder Archaeology in turn. She is currently the book sales secretary for the Abertay Historical Society.

Douglas Speirs is the Regional Archaeologist for Fife based with Fife Council in Kirkcaldy. Raised in the Scottish Borders, he graduated from Glasgow University with an honours MA degree in Archaeology and Scottish Medieval History. After working in the commercial archaeological sector he returned to university to graduate in 1993 with a M.Lit Archaeology degree (St Andrews). He was appointed Assistant Keeper (Research) with Aberdeen City Archaeological Unit before leaving in 1999 to take up his present position in which he is responsible for the management of the archaeological resource of Fife. His personal interests lie in the area of medieval archaeology and palaeography, subjects which he continues to research through his part-time PhD studies.

Clare Thomas is an archaeological consultant, specialising in medieval leather. She taught part-time at Perth College. She graduated with an honours degree in archaeology and history from the University of Southampton in 1972. She lives near Aberfeldy, and is a member of the Breadalbane Heritage Society. She has been on TAFAC since 1988, and was vice-chair for 6 years from 1994.

Sue Hamstead lectured at the University of Leeds in the Classics Department, after first following a career in computing. Sue is Education Officer with Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS), involved with various aspects of the running of the society, but mainly responsible for leading cave tours and giving talks on the caves.

David Munro is chairman of Kinross Museum and is a member of the board of Living Lomonds Partnership Trust. He publishes widely on local historical and archaeological topics.

Joe Fitzpatrick is a Director and Trustee of the Falkland Stewardship Trust in Fife and is the Trust Board’s archaeology champion. Educated at Moray House in Edinburgh and with a post graduate Diploma from Heriot Watt University, Joe spent his working life in Education and was a member of ADES (Association of Directors of Education in Scotland). He retired as a Head of Service with Fife Council at the end of 2014. In retirement he actively pursues his interest in History and Archaeology as well as studying as a member of the Open Association at St Andrews University. He has a particular interest in the Roman and Early Medieval periods in Scotland.

Bruce Manson is originally from Musselburgh where an early interest in archaeology led to his involvement in the discovery of  the Roman civil settlement at Inveresk. He has a Master’s degree in Urban Design and Regional Planning from Edinburgh University where he taught for a time before entering local government. Since retirement he has pursued his interests in local history and archaeology. He is an ex-Chair of Markinch Heritage Group and has organised several excavations in the area. Currently, he is examining the 12th century building fabric of Markinch Church, bringing together professional and voluntary skills. Bruce is the author of Fife, Why a Kingdom?  and MacDuff’s Kirk? Construction and Reconstruction.

David McGovern is Vice-President of the Pictish Arts Society. He changed career in 2015 to become a successful stone-carver, specialising in recreating Pictish designs. He was commissioned to carve the monumental stone now standing in  Forteviot village, unveiled in 2018.