Scots archaeologist dies while helping supervise dig

Jackie Scott was working as assistant supervisor on the Bradford Kaims project in Northumberland. Picture: Contributed
Jackie Scott was working as assistant supervisor on the Bradford Kaims project in Northumberland. Picture: Contributed
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A SCOTTISH archaeologist has tragically died after suffering a suspected allergic reaction to nuts while helping to supervise a dig in the North of England.

Jackie Scott, 35, was working as assistant supervisor on the Bradford Kaims project in Northumberland when he collapsed at the excavation site.

Mr Scott worked as a security guard at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but had been part of the dig team at the preserved ancient wetland site, near Bamburgh, every summer since 2010 and was appointed assistant supervisor last year.

Mr Scott’s parents Andrew, 66, and Linda, 62, who live in Kelso, said their son had first developed a passion for archaeology while studying forestry at Aberdeen University.

He then started work as a security guard at ARI while he completed another two degrees, first in sociology and then archaeology. Mr Scott graduated from Aberdeen University with a BSc in archaeology last year.

Mrs Scott said: “I think he was always interested in history and he had friends who took archaeology as well. I think it was always at the back of his mind.”

She added: “It is a comfort he was in the place he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do.”

Paul Gething, director of the Bamburgh project and the Bradford Kaims excavation, said: “This tragic news has thrown the Kaims and the wider project into disarray.

“Jackie was a big part of our community. We are still grieving, and it has only been a short time since he left us, but each day there are a few less tears and few more laughs as we relate our stories about Jackie.

“He was kind. He was gentle. He was humorous. He was a talented archaeologist. But most of all, he was our friend.”

Gerry Twomey, a director of the project, said Mr Scott’s colleagues had done all they could to save him. He added: “The tragedy is that this year the site was starting to open out and become an internationally important one.”

Paul Paton, NHS Grampian’s senior security officer, also paid tribute to Mr Scott. He said: “We miss him greatly in the security team. He was a great asset and was appreciated by staff throughout the hospital.He helped many people – staff, patients and visitors – ensuring safety in a variety of circumstances with a relaxed and reassuring manner. He always had a calm demeanour.

“We also admired his intelligence and he impressed everyone with his keen interest in advancing his education. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Mr Scott, who was born in Inverness, died on 20 June He is also survived by his brothers Alan, 39, and Douglas, 31. Mr His funeral service will be held at Aberdeen Crematorium on Friday. His family has requested that mourners make donations to Asthma UK in lieu of flowers.

Mr Gething said in a statement, posted on the dig’s website that Mr Scott had died “very suddenly” at the dig’s campsite on the evening of Thursday, 20 June.

He continued: “The cause of his death appears to be anaphylactic shock caused by an allergy. The project staff and the attending ambulance personnel went to great lengths to try to save Jackie’s life. Despite their best efforts Jackie was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 8:30 pm.

“The senior doctor informed us that Jackie passed quickly and without pain.”