Holyrood Archaeology 2023 Day 7
We had a variety of activities happening across each of our trenches, all with the aim to help answer our research questions for the dig. Whilst some trenches recorded deposits, others mattocked through rubble rampart and bank material, to define edges. Students used their keen eyes to spot artefacts, including a pair of shears and even a tiny teardrop of glass slag.
We also had another school group visit us today, and the pupils were excited to tour the site, ask the archaeologists questions, and to handle some finds. A clear favourite find is a fragment of quern stone, which fascinating both of our groups today!
Trench 3 – Ruby
Today in Trench 3, we continued digging out the subsoil. Our aims were to get past the colluvium level, and see what is below. We also intended on cleaning up the trench, especially the rampart to prepare for photogrammetry and planning. I spent the morning sieving with Caitlin, which helps us spot any small finds that we may have missed. There may be a stony surface on the inside of the rampart, and we hope to further define this feature tomorrow. We spent the afternoon cleaning the trench for photogrammetry. During this process I found a very nice piece of prehistoric pottery, the rim, which is the first piece of pottery found on site!
Trench 5 – Wenqiao
Today in trench 5, students dug a slot through the stone slabs to try to gain a better understanding of their relationship to the upper part of the trench, and to establish chronology. We were excited as a pair of shears were found, which have been well preserved!
I learned to use GPS positioning, which I found difficult as data calibration is extremely rigorous. I found a lot of bones and teeth, and I now feel confident at distinguishing them from stones, which I believe is an excellent improvement. In the following weeks, I want to improve my ability in drawing. I also want to improve my physical strength, which I’ve realised for this site is very important, as I feel tired almost every day. For me, the fieldwork needs patience, and is very detailed work. All in all, I enjoy the fieldwork as it gives me adventure every day.
Trench 6 – Morven
Our aims for today were removing a layer of tumble from the rampart which later turned out to be a thin layer of rock deposit, which we also then aimed to remove. We have probably made the most progress today compared to any other day. We removed half of the top layer of rampart from one side which revealed a layer of rubble. We have also been able to remove most of this throughout the remainder of the day. At the top of the trench, on one side, we have finished digging down to the bedrock and now want to see how this connects to the rampart. On the other side we have started to dig up the soil which a bee’s nest was situated in. We were also taught about photogrammetry and took more photos of the upper part of the trench. In terms of finds we have uncovered more vitrified rock and may have found a piece of stone lamp.
Before, I was being very careful with taking away soil and stone but now I’ve been doing that for so long, I’ve learned that I can be more confident with my excavation. As we were taught photogrammetry, I now know how to properly use the camera and feel more comfortable with the skills and techniques.
Trench 7 – Lettie
Our aims today were varied! In the extension trench we were cleaning off the compact clay layer of the bank that had been unearthed and surveying it before digging beneath it. The middle of the trench were trying to define and expose more of the stones in the wall to figure out where it’s extent. In the far end of the trench they succeed in finding where the wall facade starts!
Today was a day full of finds, two separate pieces out of cannel coal were found alongside a variety of worked stone, including different sized round smooth stones, and what is thought to be a stone mould. There was also potential coal found! A small tear shaped piece of what we believe is glass slag was found too.
Today I used the GPS for the first time to survey the layer we had exposed under the top soil of the bank in the extension trench. It was a new experience but easy to get the hang of and I enjoyed it.
Trench 8 – George
Today was a windy one up at Dunsapie, but we made good progress. Our goal this morning was to clean the trenches, removing soil and loose deposits for the photogrammetry. After, the plan was to remove as much as possible, and get under the features to have a clearer section, and to hopefully find datable evidence under the rubble.
The photogrammetry was successful, documenting the rubble on the eastern end of the trench, the bank in the middle, and the rubble on the western end. Afterwards, we got digging. We’ve removed much of the top layer of the bank, revealing some of the more consolidated layer beneath the stones. Half of the rubble at the bottom end has been removed. Unfortunately, we haven’t had any finds of notice today in our trench. Mainly, we removed big rocks and soil and took samples of new layers revealed by our mattocks. We did find a few small pockets of charcoal, all useful in our efforts to date and identify the site.
Today, members of our trench undertook surveying, with our GPS pole, photography, and photogrammetry for the records, and lots of hard digging, with mattocks ringing all day and multiple ton-sized soil sacks filled.