We had a beautiful day on Dunsapie Hill, with the sun shining throughout. This gave us incredible views across the city and Holyrood Park, which allowed us to reflect on the position of Dunsapie Hillfort in its landscape. Trench 4 had an exciting day, with lots of finds – especially animal remains which students were able to identify. Additionally, we opened a new trench. Read on for the student’s experiences!

Olga’s Experience:

Today, contrary to everyone’s expectations, the weather was hot and sunny – which lifted our spirits as we started excavating early in the morning but became increasingly more tiring as we worked in the trenches throughout the afternoon. However, this did not stop our excitement for archaeology.  

After the initial surveying of the site yesterday, we opened a new trench around the hilll. It is especially promising as we believe it might be located within a structure such as a house or a building.

Moreover, we progressed with uncovering a curved fort wall in Trench 2. Having deepened the trench yesterday, today we focused on defining the already visible features of the wall, and the stones that make it up. First off, we continued a plan drawing of the trench using the grid frame. The drawing gave us a better sense of the layout of the wall, as well as the positioning of the bedrock underneath it. Preparing a plan also allowed us to practice the skills we do not usually encounter as part of our university archaeology courses, so it was a valuable exercise.  

Afterwards it was the time for some trowel work – since the previous day we found some pottery sherds at the trench, we were hopeful for more. However, we only recovered a few artefacts today. Nonetheless, we took off another layer soil and exposed the rocks and the bedrock more. It was sometimes tedious, but necessary work – and seeing many dogs (and their owners) made it feel very rewarding. Our excavation has caught the attention of the public for sure, as many people shown interest in what we do and were asking a lot of questions, which we were more than happy to answer.  

Towards the end of the day, we were all tired, but feeling fulfilled as well. Interacting with the public gave us a sense of pride in our work, as well as reminded us of what our aim for this excavation is. We are looking forward to tomorrow as we are determined to find out more about the site, deepen some of the trenches, and hopefully recover more finds.  


Today marked day number 4 of the excavations at Dunsapie Hillfort. The weather today has arguably been the best so far, but this does run the risk of sunburn. I learnt this the hard way on day one and have sworn by sun cream ever since. This does mean I am starting to get a nice tan on my face (however this could just be dirt).  

My day began by observing the planning of Trench 2. I watched a fellow student create an intricate drawing of each stone within the trench, and then had a go at it myself. After this, a few of us continued trowelling Trench 2, this time our aim was to excavate a new layer in order to better understand which direction the original hillfort would have curved. 

After a much-needed lunch break we got back to work, this time a small group of us volunteered to begin preparing Trench 7. The position of this new trench may reveal remains of a housestead, so we were excited to start de-turfing. 

We began de-turfing Trench 7, this proved to be quite challenging. The section we began in had been heavily walked on, creating a much denser soil and stubborn surface. The rest of the Trench was covered in thick long grass, which also created a slight challenge for us. Our team have quickly become attached to this trench, and are exciting to uncovered more. Our team have quickly become attached to this trench, and are exciting to uncovered more.

Check out yesterday’s blog post here!

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