About the Council Members

Current council members:

President and Newsletter Editor Dale Bilsland
Vice-President, Lecture and Correspondence Secretary Dorothy Gormlie
Treasurer Stephen Stockdale
Minutes Secretary Janet MacDonald
Journal Editor and Archivist James Mearns
Membership Secretary Margaret Gardiner
Publicity Officer Natasha Ferguson
Publications Officer Elaine Shearer
Excursions Convenor Margaret King
Web Administrator Ann Gormlie
Council Members Alan Gifford
  Dr. Anthony Lewis
  Helen Maxwell



Dale BilslandPresident of Glasgow Archaeological Society – Dale Bilsland, MA, MRICS, FSAScot

Archaeology was my first serious career choice as a youth following the inevitable train driver and astronaut! It was impractical in the 1960’s and I became a Chartered Surveyor instead, a career which I followed in various manifestations for forty-five years, at various times managing Estates which featured archaeological remains with the attendant problems of balancing good management with the constraints of preservation.

I never lost my fascination with archaeology and history, and in 1999 completed the Certificate in Field Archaeology at DACE under Lionel Masters. I so enjoyed the discipline of such structured learning that I continued with similar courses in Egyptology and Classics. A co-operative employer permitted me to continue as a part-time mature Under-Graduate at Glasgow University resulting in an MA in Ancient Studies in 2005.

I have served on GAS Council for many years initially as an Ordinary Member, then as Editor of the Newsletter – A Touch of GAS – as Vice-President and Lecture Secretary, and since April 2015 as President.

Military History has always held a special fascination for me. I also have a life-long passion for music, specifically Opera with a particular love of the works of Richard Wagner.

I retired from business in 2012 and the freedom has allowed me to indulge all these passions, perhaps to excess!

It is a great honour and privilege to be President of Glasgow Archaeological Society and to be the present incumbent of a tradition which has endured since its formation in 1856 – over 150 years ago. This is only possible with a supportive membership and through the combined efforts of a committed and energetic Council, which the Society has always been fortunate to enjoy, and we all look forward to continuing the constant process of expanding the Society and striving to make it relevant to a modern society.



Dorothy Gormlie

Vice-President, Lecture and Correspondence Secretary – Dorothy Gormlie BSc, Dip COT, CFA

Born in Liverpool and an Occupational Therapist by profession, I have had a lifelong interest in History and Archaeology. At the age of 10 I wrote my first (and only) book on the subject. It was ambitiously titled ‘The History of the Ancient World’ and was all of 8 pages long with illustrations that I had copied from other books.

My first experience of excavating was at the age of 17 on an Anglo Saxon site in Thetford, Norfolk. After that I was hooked.

In 1993 I completed the Glasgow University course, the Certificate in Field Archaeology, initiated and organised by Lionel Masters. This opened up a whole new world of friendships, archaeologically orientated holidays, surveys and excavations. 

I enjoy reading, particularly crime fiction, and also enjoy travelling and curling. I am a member of the Richard III Society, and the highlight of 2015 for me was being present at his re-internment and visiting the grave site. 

I have been a member of GAS and ACFA since 1990 and a GAS Council member for 16 years, 12 years of which I was Publicity Officer.



Stephen Stockdale

Treasurer – Stephen Stockdale

Born in Bishopbriggs, to the north of Glasgow, I developed an interest in all forms of History at the local High School and fully intended pursuing that passion at University. Circumstances intervened however and I joined the then City of Glasgow Police Force in 1973.

In the 1990's I became a member of the Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum and after a while became involved in the Archaeological Recovery of crashed Aircraft remains. This "hands on" activity subsequently, perhaps inevitably, resulted in my joining Glasgow Archaelogical Society.

On my retiral from Strathclyde Police in 2005 I was able to devote more time to what was now a hobby and, after serving on Council for a number of years, became the Associations Treasurer in 2013.



Janet MacDonaldMinutes Secretary – Dr Janet MacDonald, MA(Hons) MPhil PhD AHEA FSA Scot

I have had a lifelong interest in archaeology, and from 1996-1999 studied the Certificate Course in Field Archaeology under Lionel Masters, thereafter becoming a member of ACFA.

I then completed a joint Honours degree in Archaeology and Celtic Civilisation, followed by a Masters in Medieval Scottish Studies. For my PhD research I continued to research the history of the late medieval monastery of Iona.

I’ve been a member of Glasgow Archaeological Society since 1996, serving on Council from 2006 and as Minute Secretary since 2007.

I’m also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, a member of the Scottish Medievalists, friend of Glasgow City Heritage Trust and member of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.



Jim Mearns

Journal Editor and Archivist – Jim Mearns

I am a graduate of that venerable and historic Glasgow institution – the University. I managed to obtain my BSc Hons in Archaeology in 1982. Unfortunately I was unable to follow a career in archaeology though I spent a year working in the Hunterian Museum and enjoyed(!) many weeks excavating along the Antonine Wall and at Roman sites in Italy. I must admit that I preferred the Italian sunshine to digging in the snow in Falkirk! After a brief spell in the private sector I entered the civil service in 1985, beginning work in the Ancient Monuments Division and then on to Criminal Justice Statistics. In 1987, after passing through the fast stream selection process, I moved to the Department of Transport in London but returned to Glasgow in 1990 to work in Strathclyde Region and was able to get support for an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning from Strathclyde University which I completed in 1997 shortly after moving to take up a post in the Chief Executive’s Department of Glasgow City Council. I took advantage of an early retiral scheme in 2013.

I am a member of Archaeology Scotland and was a Trustee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland from 2011-2014.

Having joined GAS as a student around 1980 I was happy to take a more active role in the Society as a member of GAS Council when I returned to Glasgow. The highlight of my time on Council was being elected President in 2006 and being part of the team that planned the sesquicentennial celebrations for season 2006-07. I was fortunate in being able to use my Council contacts to get permission for the Society to start digging in Pollok Park. I took over as Archivist when Professor Keppie stepped down from that role in 2010 and took on the role of Editor of the Journal in 2014.



Margaret Gardiner

Membership Secretary – Margaret Gardiner BA (Hons) Post Graduate Cert. Community Education

Although a recently retired Senior Practitioner in Community Education I have held a variety of posts over the years including Alpine Ski Leader and Dry Ski Slope Manager.

Twenty years ago as a consequence of a lifelong interest in archaeology, I completed Glasgow University’s three year Certificate in Field Archaeology course and joined the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologist (ACFA). Since then I have been actively involved in field survey work in Glen Lochy, Eaglesham, Isles of Rona and Bute to mention a few plus excavations in a variety of locations, and weather conditions, across Scotland.

I have been a member of Glasgow Archaeological Society for over 20 years and in 2013 became Membership Secretary. I have loved every minute.



Natasha FergusonPublicity Officer – Dr Natasha Ferguson, FSA Scot

Natasha is the Treasure Trove Unit Officer, based within National Museums Scotland. She began her career at the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology, University of Glasgow working as a research assistant. Amongst other things this research involved directing and co-directing archaeological investigations of Scottish battlefields as part of community-led projects. This included the Battles of Philiphaugh, Scottish Borders (1645) and Prestonpans, East Lothian (1745), and the Fort William and Inverlochy Project. Another aspect of this role was the post-excavation and analysis of several battle-related assemblages. The most significant of which was the cataloguing of the assemblage recovered from the Battle of Culloden on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.

Throughout this research and her work in the Centre, Natasha has worked closely with hobbyist metal detectorists across the UK. This has been an invaluable experience which has greatly informed her current role as Unit Officer which aims to encourage the reporting and accurate recording of battle-related material and to raise awareness of sites of conflict as sensitive archaeological landscapes. Other research interests include heritage management, community archaeology and education in archaeology. Natasha has also worked extensively in schools, developing artefact-based workshops to Primary and Secondary levels.

Natasha has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in archaeology from the University of Glasgow and NUI, Galway respectively, and has published articles and lectured on subjects including metal detecting, material culture and the cultural heritage management of battlefields.

Natasha has been a member of GAS for several years and enjoyed attending lectures as a student. She joined the council in 2014 and has recently taken over the role of Publicity Officer which involves designing publicity materials and managing the Society’s social media output. Natasha’s aim is to encourage a core base of younger members to the society and to highlight Scotland’s archaeological talent, especially at a local level.



Elaine ShearerPublications Officer – Elaine Shearer

‘History was always my favourite subject at school but it wasn't until I took an 'extra-mural' (as it was called then) course run by the late Andy Gibb that I developed my interest in archaeology. At the time I was a student nurse but I decided that nursing was not for me and so I applied to the University of Glasgow. Prior to starting my course I had my first taste of excavation digging at Bearsden Roman Fort with David Breeze and thoroughly enjoyed it. I graduated in 1977 with an MA (Hons) Medieval History and Archaeology. Thereafter I pursued a career in academic administration finally ending up in the Senate Office of the University of Glasgow.

I am now retired and holiday every year in Orkney, revisiting old and new sites including the Ness of Brodgar. I am a member of the Orkney Archaeological Society. 

I am also on the committee of the Scottish Hellenic Society (Glasgow), having served twice as Secretary. Gardening is a major interest of mine and I am a member of the Baldernock Gardening Club and of the West of Scotland Rock Garden Club. I also volunteer with Milngavie in Bloom where my role is growing plants from seed and bringing on plug plants. I love opera and am a Friend of Scottish Opera. I also enjoy visiting museums and exhibitions and am a Hunterian Friend.

I have been a member of the Glasgow Archaeological Society since I was a student and have been Publications Officer since about 1986.



Margaret King

Excursions Convenor – Margaret King

Having an interest in history and archaeology I applied in 1992 to join Glasgow University’s Certificate in Field Archaeology Course. It was an enjoyable and fascinating three years, offering me the opportunity of taking part in survey work in a variety of interesting locations in Scotland.

In 1997 I joined GAS Council, contributing to both ‘Publicity’ and ‘Excursions’ sub-groups and then subsequently became Excursions Convenor in 2006.






Ann Gormlie

Web Administrator – Ann Gormlie

Graduating from Glasgow University in 2001 with a Joint Honours MA in Celtic Civilisation and Archaeology, I returned home to the Midlands for a number of years before moving back to Scotland with my family.

During my time at university I mostly concentrated on Early Medieval Gaeldom and early Irish literature, interests which I still indulge today. I have since established a small publishing company which concentrates on producing eBooks on antiquarian and folklore subjects relating to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Over the years I've been a web admin for a number of websites, and in 2004 this garnered me awards for Best Web Admin and Best Websites for my work with Johnston Press.

I have also previously worked as a script consultant for a number of documentaries produced for the History Channel, focusing on ancient civilisations.  

In my spare time I have been (slowly!) learning Gaelic.



Alan GiffordCouncil Member – Alan Gifford

On being asked to write something for the website I thought at first I would start off with some clever, witty and apposite quote. Now I know I did read one somewhere quite recently which I thought would be perfect, but, now I feel like Bertie Wooster because I can’t recall more than that some fellow (moustache, baggy trousers etc.) said something (very witty, “oh how I laughed”!) about a building (stones etc… you know the sort of thing) somewhere (hot and sandy). I’m sure you know who I mean… So, having dazzled you with my wit, erudition and learning, the biography.

I have been interested in history for as long as I can remember - books about the second world war and then The World At War got a lot of my attention between the ages of eleven or twelve and about sixteen (I think there was probably a drop of in my interest at that point and for a while as other interests common to that age group intervened!). After school I studied history at night classes and ultimately applied for the Open University, studying history, and I think it was during that time that I became aware of archaeology. A further course on Scottish History through Dundee University followed and by that time I was aware of the ACFA course. Whilst waiting for it to run I did a few short courses on archaeology with the Open University and then DACE (now COS) and I am now nearly half way through the second year of the ACFA course with COS.

I think what appeals about archaeology is the direct contact with the past. You can read a history book but only archaeology, potentially, lets you touch history as it were. Only archaeology can let you walk on a floor or touch a wall that has stood for hundreds perhaps thousands of years, and of course, sometimes, only archaeology can tell you what happened in the past and maybe, if you are very, very lucky, let you discover the past.



Tony LewisCouncil Member – Dr. Anthony Lewis

Anthony Lewis has been Curator of Scottish History, based at St Mungos Museum of Religious Life and Art, since 2006; however he has worked for Glasgow Museums since the 1990s as both a Venue and Learning Assistant. He is currently responsible for collections covering Scottish Government and Nobility, Scottish Banking, Jacobite and Hanoverian conflicts, Scottish military medals, Scottish trade and transport tokens and Scottish rural life as well as working closely with the Provand’s Lordship.

Anthony received his PhD on `The Builders of Edinburgh's New Town 1767 ? 1795? (Edinburgh University, 2006) following studies in Art History, Cultural Resource Management and Museum Studies. His research interests include Scottish history, archaeology, and architecture as well as museum provision and professions. He has delivered many lectures and University courses concerning these fields and had numerous articles published, his most recent dealing with Scottish labour history.

Anthony currently serves on both GAS Council and a Committee interpreting Scottish heritage for the National Trust for Scotland.



Helen MaxwellCouncil Member – Helen Maxwell

I am a retired teacher with an interest in all aspects of archaeology. Like most people I was first enthralled by the Egyptians. I soon realised that it would be impossible to travel to Egypt frequently.

I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the course at Glasgow University run by Lionel Masters. I attended this course from 1981-1984. The course made me aware of all the archaeology we have in Scotland.

I am member of A.C.F.A.(Association Certificated Field Archaeologists) and have taken part in surveys from Dalmellington to Skye and a few inbetween.

I have been on the Council for the last 4 years and assist M. King with the outings.