Society of Antiquaries of SCOTLAND was founded in 1780 and
it was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1783. It is the second oldest
antiquarian society in Britain. The purpose of the Society is set
out in the first of its Laws '...the Study of the Antiquitics and
History of Scotland, more especially by means of Archaeological
Research'; the Society today is concerned with every aspect
of the human past in Scotland.
The Society is an active body. Members have, from the
beginning, been known as Fellows of the Society, and there are
now some three thousand Fellows around the world, as well as
twenty-five Honorary Fellows elected for their outstanding
scholarship. Membership is by election, held annually on St Andrew’s
day, 30th November; it is open to all with an interest in the history
and archaeology of Scotland.
The Society organises an annual Programme of Meetings;
this includes monthly lectures in Edinburgh from October to June, a
conference, and various seminars and excursions. There is a flourishing North-East
Section based in Aberdeen which organises its own excursions, in
addition to regular lectures. All Fellows receive annually the Proceedings
of the Society, an up-to-date and wide-ranging record of research in
Scotland. Fellows are also entitled to purchase other Society publications,
such as the Monograph Series, at reduced prices.
A major part of the Society's programme is the sponsorship of
research, and there are various grants and awards to assist different
kinds of work, from survey and excavation to finds analysis and archival
research. The entrance fees paid by new Fellows on election to
the Society are invested to help increase the Research Fund.
In 1780 the Society started to collect antiquities,
manuscripts and books, and these formed the nucleus from which the
National Museums of Scotland was founded. Today this collection is part
of the national Museums of Scotland with which the Society maintains
close links. The offices of the Society are housed in the Museum,
and Society meetings make use of museum facilities. The Library
in the Museum contains a unique collection of books dating back to
the foundation of the Society, and it continues to receive
periodicals from around the world, in exchange for the Proceedings.
Fellows enjoy the privilege of consultation and borrowing books from
the library, which is open on weekdays.
As the senior antiquarian body in Scotland, the Society has an
important role in the cultural life and heritage of Scotland. It draws
on a wide range of experience through the Fellowship, and
provides an impartial voice independent of the opinions of Government,
University, or Agency. The Society is often consulted on
different matters relating to the heritage, and it is represented on
many committees and councils including the Ancient Monuments Board for
Scotland. Membership of the Society enables Fellows to
play a part in safeguarding the Scottish past.
Admission to the Society is by election. Candidates should be
proposed by a Fellow. In some cases Council may waive the
need for a sponsor; candidates should contact the Director for
advice on this matter.
Elections are held annually on St Andrew’s Day, 30th November. The
names of those seeking admission are circulated to the Fellowship before
that meeting, and candidates are advised of the outcome of the election
shortly after the ballot. Application forms must be returned to the
Society by 1st October.
There is an entrance fee of £10 (or £5, if under 30 years of age on
the date of election), and the annual subscription is £25. The Society’s
financial year runs from 1st July to 30th June, and a full year’s
subscription is due for the year of election. Fellows receive
each volume of the Proceedings, a twice-yearly Newsletter, and
have the right to attend Meetings, to which they may bring
guests. Fellows may also borrow books from the Library.
A reduced rate of subscription of £10 is available to those who are
not the first member of a household to be elected to the Society, and
who waive their right to receive the Proceedings. This reduced
rate is only available to Fellows who are normally resident in
the same household as the first Fellow.
Fellows resident outside Europe will be asked to send an
additional amount to cover the high cost of postage. Newsletters and
other communications are sent by airmail; the Proceedings are
sent by surface mail.
Those who have been Fellows for ten consecutive years and who
deem themselves retired may pay a reduced subscription of £20.
The entrance fee and subscription are not due until election has
taken place. No money should be sent with the application form.
The offices of the Society of Antiquaries
are housed in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh
EH1 1JF. You can ring them at 0131 247 4155 or 4133 or fax them on
0131 247 4163.
You can see their web