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

Chair: 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.

Vice-chairMoira Greig recently retired as Archaeologist for Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus Councils. She specialised in Aerial Archaeology and is currently Project Leader for the Masons’ Marks Project, Treasurer of the Aerial Archaeology Research Group and Member of the Institute of Archaeologists.

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 and distributing material to them.

Treasurer, Newsletter Editor: John Sherriff is an Investigator with the former Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, now merged with 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 joined RCAHMS in 1986 and has since undertaken survey in Perthshire, Dumfriess-shire and Aberdeenshire.

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.

Steve Liscoe, Fife Council Archaeological Unit, Town House, Kirkcaldy has served as Vice-chair and frequently chairs our conference sessions. He has a particular interest in nautical archaeology.

Rachel Benvie is Curator of Montrose and Brechin Museums. 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 as Assistant Curator in 1987 and became Curator in 1991. She served as Chairman of TAFAC from 2008 to 2011.

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 (Perth and Kinross Council), currently seconded to Western Isles Council. 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 and was its Chairman from 1997-2004. In addition he 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 (fondly known as Bell Street Tech), 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-chairman for 6 years from 1994.

Tony Simpson serves on the Board of Trustees of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) and is a member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society’s collection team.

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.

Elspeth Reid is Secretary of the Pictish Arts Society. She graduated from Stirling University wih a BA (Hons) and a PhD in 16th-century German pamphlets. She is co-author of a study of Fife cartoonist and satirist Cynicus (Martin Anderson 1854-1932).

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.

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.