The Arthur Trail Association (ATA) was formed in January 2012 to work with local communities, drawing on their knowledge, expertise and enterprise to put in place action plans to help disseminate knowledge of and arouse interest in the archaeology and history of the Dark Ages, and develop cultural tourist enterprise through a Dark Age Trail incorporating relevant sites and exhibitions across Southern and central Scotland. To achieve this, ATA works with local authorities, national government and international agencies to help provide opportunities for archaeological and historical research, education and tourist development. Furthermore ATA engages in and coordinates development projects including but not limited to site research and development, funding assistance, marketing and promotion, capacity building, community assistance, commercial and non-commercial activities, training and education, publications and media production.
The Arthur Trail Association believes that if the rural and sometimes isolated communities in northern Britain are supported to engage with the local landscape and its heritage, there are enormous and long‐lasting benefits that can be gained especially in enhancing people’s sense of place, fostering social cohesion, building new skills and offering longer‐term opportunities to respond to the growing cultural and natural heritage tourist potential.
Aiming to discover more about these so-called Dark Ages, the ATA’s current project focuses on the survey, exploratory excavation and recording of an important landscape in the Scottish Borders: the Manor Valley. This ancient landscape contains a range of archaeological sites which represent several phases of construction and occupation from prehistoric times onwards.
ATA hope that a new programme of survey, trial excavations and the use of cutting-edge techniques may help us to understand the chronology of the various buildings, walls and field systems scattered across the landscape, shedding new light on the Dark Ages of the Scottish Borders.