A unique archaeological dig will take place in Forres next month, as historians seek to uncover part of the town’s past while being serenaded by bagpipe music.
It is believed that the remains of an Iron Age hill-fort are buried amid Cluny Hill.
And as archaeologists carefully excavate the ground around the mound, they will be encouraged on by the sound of the Piping at Forres music event below them in Grant Park.
Leif Isaksen grew up in Forres and is now a senior lecturer at Lancaster University, but is returning to his hometown to lead the dig.
International archaeologists will descend on the landmark too, along with a local experts and a band of volunteers.
Mr Isaksen deliberately arranged the mission to coincide with the European Pipe Band Championships contest, which will take place on June 25.
He said: “We are very excited to carry out a community research project at Cluny Hill, it is a wonderful place to work..
“If its size is anything to go by, this could be one of the most significant hilltop sites in the northern Scotland.”
He added: “Dramatic changes to the landscape over the past two centuries meant that the earliest traces of human activity on Cluny Hill have all but faded from view.
“We very much hope that this project will inspire people to learn more about Forres and its fascinating history.
“We are certain that visitors will have their eyes opened to the ancient history beneath their feet.”
The archaeologists will use 3D and laser-scanning technology to reveal the hill’s secrets, and will run guided tours around it during the day.
The bagpiping extravaganza is organised by Forres Events Ltd.
Group director, Joanna Taylor, said the project would add a “fascinating element” to this year’s bash.
She said: “I am delighted that the plans for an excavation on Cluny Hill are going ahead, and that his team have decided to coincide the dig with Piping At Forres.
“This is a welcome addition for us and will provide another fascinating element to the event.”
More information about the competition, which will feature more than 100 bands, is available at www.pipingatforres.com