Excavation blog by Garion Adams

Today will be the fourth day of work and in effect the third of practical excavation on site in the park. We set quickly off to pick up where we had left off, furthering what we had done in previous days removing layers of soil and pebble deposits with trowel and brushes. We made several discoveries aspects of both the top trench network and the section headed through the rampart and down the hill. As excavation continued throughout the morning a concentration of large stones in the northern section of the top trench – it is possible that these may be part of an extended rampart section. Shortly after this, a test pit from previous archaeological work was found near to the “T” section of trench line. Along the eastern section of trench, line work progressed until hitting bedrock in much of the network as excavation progresses eagerly further down and along the section itself, potentially to reveal a second rampart. Artefact finds of the day ranged from a twenty pence piece, dating back to 2019, several nails, and an old-styled ring pull Fanta can!

Public interest in our work was high throughout the day and we spoke to many people. Many of the visitors lamented the lack of information on the archaeological sites in the park and expressed a wish to see an improvement on that front, not just in terms of presenting them to the public but also to help encourage their protection and preservation.

Survey blog by Connor Wimblett

The survey team was split into groups again today. In the morning, half of us went back to Dunsapie to continue the total station and plane table surveys whilst the rest of us met in the field opposite St Margaret’s Well to start some magnetometry.

Our magnetometry group first carried out a photographic survey of the field, which used to be a parade ground and had some very obvious archaeological features (mainly slopes). We also spent a brief moment (1.5 hours) building the push-cart magnetometer only to discover that it wasn’t working, so we were sent off to Dunsapie to help the others finish their surveys whilst our supervisor Gemma got it fixed. On the way we did some erosion surveys on the heavily trodden paths running up towards Arthur’s Seat.

We all met back up at the fort for lunch, and then split up again with three of us going back to use the now-working magnetometer whilst the rest stayed to finish other surveys: total station, plane table, and erosion. Those of us doing magnetometry then spent the afternoon out in the glorious sun pushing the cart back and forth across the field, using canes in the ground to mark out straight(ish) lines to follow and stopping occasionally to answer questions from the public or film another “archaeology TikTok”. Personally, I found the process quite relaxing, but I imagine it’s a bit harder to manoeuvre the geophysics equipment when you’re surveying a site that’s any steeper than a flat field!

Survey blog by Laura Spence

On our fourth day of surveying, we split into two groups, with one meeting at Dunsapie Fort and the other at St Margaret’s Well. The group at Dunsapie Fort went into two teams, with one undertaking a plane table drawing of a part of the Fort not yet covered, and the other setting up the total station. The total station team then mapped out the outline of an Iron Age roundhouse. The other group at St Margaret’s Well set up the  geophysics equipment, however unfortunately there were technical issues which meant no work could be done.

Luckily after lunch the equipment was fixed and the geophysics group could carry on with their work. The Dunsapie Fort group continued with both the plane table and total station work, completing both by the end of the day. Tomorrow the group will be reunited, meeting at Dunsapie Fort to take a tour around the park with a representative from Historic Environment Scotland.