A two-mile stretch of land between Arrochar and Tarbet could hold vital clues to the Vikings' occupation of Scotland.

An archaeological project hopes to shed new light on how the Vikings used the narrow isthmus between Loch Lomond and Loch Long to expedite their notorious plundering exploits.

The fierce Norsemen are said to have dragged their boats across the isthmus - now the route of the busy A83 - to raid the rich Lomond settlements before encountering defeat at the Battle of Largs in 1263.

Now an appeal has gone out for volunteers to come forward and help archaeologists in their quest for Viking clues.

Fiona Jackson, co-ordinator of the community archaeology project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Argyll and the Isles LEADER, told the Advertiser: "Anyone who lives or works locally is invited to volunteer.

"Local knowledge combined with professional expertise is what will make this project uncover every last detail and give it an energy to celebrate this rich landscape and its heritage."

Volunteers will be able to get involved in a range of ways, including working with Glasgow University's Dr Simon Taylor to research place names, surveying the landscape using geophysics equipment and excavating specific historical features.

The project - called The Hidden Heritage of a Landscape: Vengeful Vikings and Reckless Rustlers - has attracted funding totalling �90,447. Arrochar and Tarbet Community Development Trust (CDT), who applied for the funding, has set up a steering group to manage the project.

The group will employ a project co-ordinator with school involvement workers, and will be helped by experts, including national Viking specialist and local resident Dr Colleen Batey from Glasgow University. The project aims to uncover evidence of how this significant strip of land has been used in the past, both before and since the Vikings. It also aims to train people in archaeological techniques and to promote the landscape's rich cultural heritage.

School children and other young people will be encouraged to participate through a wide programme of activities, supported by school involvement workers Sue Furness and Brian Wilkinson.

Fiona said: "The children will get the chance to bring the past alive, not only through surveying and excavation, but also through art, story telling, boat-building and drama.

"The project will also provide Viking related Curriculum for Excellence resources available for years to come.

"Over the next 18 months, volunteers of all ages and experience will be able to undertake a range of archaeological processes with professional support and training from Northlight Heritage, a community archaeology company based in Scotland and part of the charitable York Archaeology Trust which runs that Jorvik Viking Centre."

As a final celebration, the community will hold a Hidden Heritage conference in 2014, which will help to showcase the work of the volunteers and to disseminate the results of their research. For information, contact hiddenheritagevikings@gmail.com