Aurélie Turmel (in English)

Geologist and Archaeologist

  • BORN 1985, Reims, Marne, France
  • WORKED Reims University (France), Historic Environment Scotland (Scotland)
  • HONOURS Masters in Archaeology and Geology, Masters in Archaeological Studies, Doctorate in Earth Sciences

Artistic Connections

When one of my colleagues told me about a musical project to transform scientific data into sounds, I said to myself “I want to be a part of this adventure”. I love music. My hometown in Reims has always been home to many festivals and creators of electronic music.


Title: The Secrets of the Engine Shed

Part 1 “The rise of the Engine Shed”

  1. ‘Materials’
  2. ‘Tools’
  3. ‘Life in the Shed’

Part 2 “The Fall of the Engine Shed”

  1. ‘The Natural Fall of the Engine Shed’
  2. ‘Mankind Made it Crumble’
  3. ‘The Empty Shed’

Part 3 “The Rise of the Engine Shed”

Composers: Frances M Lynch and children from Raploch Primary (Part 1 “The rise of the Engine Shed”) and Riverside Primary (Part 2- “The Fall of the Engine Shed”)

Written in: September 2018
For: Mixed Voices
Performed by: the composers
First Performed: The Engine Shed, Stirling, 18th September, 2018

The children visited us at the Engine Shed to learn about the history of the building and the conservation science which now takes place within its walls. The composers started with how it was built, what kind of things it was used for, how it decayed and how Historic Environment Scotland brought it back to life.

Raploch Primary – where I gave a talk –  concentrated on the building of the Engine Shed, beginning with a treasure hunt round the building to identify the stone, timber, bricks and other materials used. They found symbols of tools on the glass of the building and imagined what they might sound like, and finally what kind of things happened in the building once it was ready – like trains moving goods around, soldiers marching and engines being repaired before  it was abandoned and later restored.

Using vocal sounds, and pattern techniques they created scores with images and words, which they then rehearsed and added actions to for a very lively performance.


Title:  Argyle Tower
Composed by: N5 and Higher Students from STIRLING HIGH SCHOOL
Written in: September 2018
For: 3 Female Voices, 3 Flutes, 2 Guitars, Bass Guitar, Piano, Keyboard, Vocal Percussion,  Stone Percussion

Performed by: The Composers, Amy Bilsborough, Frances M Lynch, Margaret Cameron and Eleanor Logan

First Performed: The Engine Shed, September 18th 2018 (where it was recorded live)

In 1685 Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll was executed at Edinburgh Castle. His story illuminates the life of his step-daughter, Lady Sophia Lindsay, who courageously freed him from Edinburgh Castle when he was first incarcerated, but found her rescue mission to have been in vain.  Her story, which places her at Argyll’s Lodgings in Stirling with the Campbell family, is paralleled and inspired by the work of scientists working for Historic Environment Scotland, based at the Engine Shed in Stirling. They are engaged on conservation work at Argyle’s Tower in Edinburgh Castle which marks the place of the Earl’s imprisonment.

The students have taken elements of Sophia Lindsay’s story, interwoven with techniques used in our work which they translated into harmony and melody by applying number systems from the data onto musical scales. You will find references to Moisture Analysis (data showing where moisture is collecting in the stone), Chemical Elements from the Period Table, X-ray diffraction from salt analysis and Thermal Imaging which shows cold and warm spots in the vaulted room. They also used stone and slate samples to create rhythms, some traditional music referring to the Scottish Country Dance entitled Sophia Lindsay, and texts written by or about the protagonists in the story. Please go to the STIRLING HIGH SCHOOL page for more information.

Frances M Lynch also wrote a piece entitled “Salt Tears” based on the same story and techniques. For more information go to the MAUREEN YOUNG page.


We acknowledge support for this project from Creative Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Scotland Foundation towards the writing and first performance of this score. The composition was also supported by Hope Scott Trust. Frances M Lynch is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators. The performance was also supported by the Ambache Charitable Trust.

PRS Foundation LogoAmbache Charitable Trust Logo


During my childhood, my parents would take us to visit places all over France and each summer we would return to Briançon in the Alps where I first fell in love with the colour and forms of Earth: geology. On top of this I have always been impressed by ruins, historical monuments, and towns. And voila: a little archaeology.


I used to work for a café where I prepared muffins and sandwiches. I also worked in a bank for a few months during my studies.

Scientific Achievements

My proudest scientific achievement is being in Scotland and working for Historic Environment Scotland where I share and enrich my ideas on the approach to the conservation of materials and monuments.

Sarah Hamilton and Aurelie look on as the Outreach Team show the children of Raploch Primary how the giant mobile map works!

Did You Know?

I knit


Hypatia of Alexandria was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the school of Neo-Platonism and she was the creator of the hydrometer.