Holyrood Archaeology Day 8 2023
Today the students were making great progress across all trenches! Read about their experiences here.
Trench 3 – Paulina Tabachnikova
It’s our sixth day in trench 3, and we spent a good part of the day creating a hand-drawn plan of our trench, specifically of the outer rampart on the Western side. We learned the many intricacies of hand planning, which involved measuring out the precise dimensions of our trench and the locations of the rampart’s stones. Through this process and an insightful tutorial on GIS/geomapping, we learned how various kinds of survey data – including hand-drawn plans, photogrammetry, and GPS points – can be used in conjunction to create a detailed 3D analysis of archaeological sites. Our other aim for the day was to investigate the large deposit on the Eastern side of our trench, which consisted of smaller stones that may have been naturally deposited but we believed they had likely tumbled from an archaeological formation. We believe this may be an earthen bank that sits on the inside of the rampart, forming a sort of mound with stone sitting on top of it in situ. We found a few burnt animal bones in this context, as well as a few pieces of metal that appear to form an iron nail! We also began taking down a baulk we had built in our trench for safety purposes, getting down to the level of the rampart and finding a few massive pieces of metal slag in the process. We’ll continue exploring what remains under this context and the earthen bank in the coming days, hoping to establish an inner border to our rampart. Finally, with our resident public archaeologist (Emily) absent today, a member of the Trench 3 team (Caitlin) took over the duty of recording our daily vlogs of each trench, which allowed us to learn about the merits of public archaeology 🙂
Trench 6 Luke Stobo
The aims for today were to reduce the bulk in the western sections of the trench and trowel back the section. In the lower section of the trench a layer of tumble was to be moved.
In the western section of the trench all bulk was removed using shovels and mattocks down to the bedrock. In the lower section the tumble was removed and a layer of clay has been uncovered and is continuing to be excavated.
Trench 7 – Rioco
Today’s main goals were to continue removing stones to uncover the two walls and to prepare the extension trench for the environmental archaeologists who are come tomorrow. We made a lot of advancements in the different parts of the trench. On one side of the wall, we worked very hard to uncover one side of the wall, but where we made the most progress was in the extension of the trench. We excavated the last layer we were working on and uncovered a collection of large rocks surrounded by clay. This could be of archaeological significance, but we are not completely sure yet because there is also a possibility that it might be just natural.
Today’s finds, included two smoothed stones and cannel coal, the star of the day was a clay pipe found in the ditch extension. Initially we thought that the whole ditch belonged to the Iron Age, but this piece proves that the ditch extension is post-medieval.
Today I have learned to differentiate an artefact from an ordinary stone. At first it all seemed the same to me, but I feel that thanks to this experience my skills are getting better and better.