Holyrood Archaeology 2023 – Day 11
Trench 3 – Paulina
It’s the start of our last week in trench 3! Our goal for the day was to continue cutting a slot into the outer rampart on the Western side of our trench. Through this process, we managed to uncover an inner wall face below all the stones that had tumbled down the hill over the course of thousands of years. There were quite a few animal bones and teeth found within and below the rampart wall, indicating that they were deposited there during the construction of the rampart and can be used to find a precise radiocarbon date for that construction. We also uncovered another huge slab of bedrock continuing along the stepped formation of bedrock in our trench, which may have been chipped away and used for quarrying stones in the process of building the rampart. Additionally, we investigated what we believed to be a potential posthole situated on a darker, clay-like patch of soil within another context. However, we found a natural deposit of dark clay surrounding the bedrock that likely accounts for that patch of soil, rather than it being a posthole. We managed to gain a deeper insight into the purpose and construction of our trench by exploring the natural context surrounding the bedrock. Along with large amounts of vitrified material (metal slag) and quartz, we found a shiny blue piece of flint within a context that is contemporary with the building of the rampart! Finally, the weather was treacherously hot today, so we learned the importance of maintaining a healthy work pace and keeping each other safe 🙂
Trench 5 – Molly
Today marks the start of the third week of excavation. We have been examining the posthole today and taking back the soil to reveal the bedrock. We have sectioned the trench to get a more detailed recording. Everyone is able to work more independently and have become more confident using the tools as well as finding artefacts. I am enjoying the excavation and have found myself gaining more patience.
Trench 6 – Dmytro
Today we continued the excavating Iron Age rampart in our trench (which we’ve affectionately named Larry Rampart). With worsening environmental conditions (it was exceedingly hot today so we were very conscious of not developing sunstroke) we kept moving on our task, and we never gave up on the hope of uncovering some artefacts that may help us date the rampart in the trench. Apart from the important task of excavating the rampart we have also achieved some other aims of the day, which were exposing a potential face over the western side of the bank, and digging the slot through the middle part of the rampart. Clean and define is the slogan of our team – these two words forever fixed in our memory!
Trench 7 – Charlotte R
The Trench aims were to find the floor by digging down to the floor level of the roundhouse, which would be indicative from changes to the layer of clay being found inside the roundhouse. Defining the walls between the roundhouse and the bank was also achieved today. Whilst much of the clay layer remains, it appears to occur less as the depth of the trench increases. This would suggest a layer of clay was placed down, for the construction of the roundhouse. A likely animal bone, possibly a tooth was found very close to the end of the day. If this bone can provide a date, it could indicate when the roundhouse was constructed.