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In Progress: St Kilda Archipelago
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St Kilda, Scotland


This volcanic archipelago, with its spectacular landscapes, is situated off the coast of the Hebrides and comprises the islands of Hirta, Dun, Soay and Boreray. It has some of the highest cliffs in Europe, which have large colonies of rare and endangered species of birds, especially puffins and gannets.

While many people are familiar with the story of how the last occupants left the main island of Hirta in the 1930s, there is evidence of travelers coming to St Kilda from the Western Isles for at least 4000 years. The landscape includes houses, large enclosures, and cleits, or unique drystone storage structures. The 19th and 20th century settlement in Village Bay survives virtually complete. This village dates from the 1830s, and is made up of a crescent of houses, of typical Hebridean black house design. These structures are the vulnerable remains of a subsistence economy based on the products of birds, agriculture, and sheep farming. St Kilda was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1986.

St Kilda Archipelago is one of the ten sites included in the Scottish Ten project, a partnership project between CyArk, Historic Scotland, and Glasgow's School of Art's Digital Design Studio. In July 2011, a team from Historic Scotland and the Digital Design Studio of the Glasgow School of Art, known collectively as the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation, terrestrially scanned the island of Hirta within the archipelago as part of the Scottish Ten. The Scottish Ten ambitiously strives to create accurate digital models of Scotland's five UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites and five international heritage sites over the course of five years. Along with St Kilda, the Scottish Ten will also digitally document the remaining four sites in Scotland - the Antonine Wall; the Heart of Neolithic Orkney; the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh; and New Lanark - as well as the five international heritage sites.

For more information about the St Kilda Archipelago, visit the National Trust for Scotland's website and the Scottish Ten website.

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