Special Collections: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland was founded in 1780 by David Steuart Erskine, the 11th Earl of Buchan (1742-1829) and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1783. The Society is a charitable organisation registered in Scotland whose purpose is set out in the first of its Laws: "...the study of the antiquities and history of Scotland, more especially by means of archaeological research."

The Society's museum and library collections became National Property in 1858 and formed the basis of our collections. The library holds several series of papers and manuscripts from the Society in its archive.

Society Records: correspondence, minutes, agendas and circulars, financial records. These date from its founding in 1780 to 1974. More recent records are held by the Society.

Numbered Manuscript Collection: papers, drawings, photographs and journals on Scottish antiquities mostly donated to the Society by Fellows. In 1974 a large collection of mss, drawings and rubbings mainly relating to monuments were transferred on long term loan to the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHMS) and are listed on Canmore.

Internal manuscripts: letters and other documents principally concerned with the administration of the Society and its museum and library.

The library also holds the papers of William Smellie (first Keeper of the Society) and the scrapbook of Daniel Wilson (Secretary of the Society from 1845 - 1853).

Among the numbered manuscript collection are 8 volumes of Robert Riddell of Glenriddell's Collection of Scottish antiquities (1786-1792).

Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Website

Bronze Pony Cap from Torrs, Kirkcudbrightshire, 300-100BC. Watercolour by Thomas Brown (SAS MS 497)