Friday, 18 April 2014

Surveying with RCAHMS at Law of Dumbuils



This week I have been following in Yvonne’s footsteps and learning about plane table drawing from the RCAHMS surveyors, Ian, George, and John at Law of Dumbuils hillfort.

When we first visited the site, George suggested I spend half an hour making a quick sketch of how the structure of the fort appeared to me. It was a little overwhelming at first as the fort is made up of multiple ramparts and full of lumps and bumps.

At first it was difficult to disentangle all of the features at Law of Dumbuils


The Wild (“Veelt”) RK1 alidade is the workhorse of RCAHMS surveys – no longer made and older than George!

When surveying, RCAHMS use a mix of traditional and hi-tech methods, from plane-table surveying to differential GPS surveying. This gives them a full and balanced understanding of a site. The primary tool used is a self-reducing alidade, typically with a 1:500 scale. Ian, a draughtsman with 40 years experience, explained that this scale removes a degree of subjectivity and any small errors that may occur when recording.  After Ian had explained to me how the alidade works, I started to record some of the fort’s features with the help of John. By the end of the day the plan was starting to take shape!

Familiarising myself with the alidade.


Final day of Fieldwalking



Day 4 and all done by 2.30pm. Fewer finds in Field 2 on Thursday, although we managed to bag 35 artefacts (179 in total). A very successful four days. Special thanks to the fieldwalking team, Calum Rollo (landowner), John Neil (farmer) and our visitors Kenny & Jan Brophy.

Dene

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Further Fieldwalking Tales



Another successful day (16/7) fieldwalking at Millhaugh. Bagged finds now up to 144. I'm pleased to say that the vast majority are chipped stone. Many thanks to an exceptional team, namely Sophie Bojadziev, Gillian Bond, Daniel Maclean, Patricia Neuhoff and Katherine Price, and not forgetting Alex Alexander who was with us for the first two days.

We had visits from Calum Rollo (landowner) and Kenny & Jan Brophy. Jan very kindly brought us homemade Cypriot almond biscuits. Delicious and all gone :)

Dene

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Millhaugh Fieldwalking

Other activities going on by the SERF project this week include fieldwalking (headed up by Dene Wright)



"Very successful first two days with more than 60 pieces of worked flint and jasper including flint cores and scrapers. There's other stuff but it's not as exciting as the chipped stone :) Thanks to Alex, Gillian, Katherine, Sophie and Patricia." - Dene


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 13 at Castle Law

...the dream team strikes again!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 12 at Castle Law

Sunny and lovely at Castle Law today ... Magic (maajeek) Monday.  Today's blog post will be a barrage of photos from across the site... enjoy!

Planning in Trench E
Zane still finding more to the bank in Trench E
Ross digging in Trench F
Team Macdonado back together again!
Exposing the outer wall
Thumbs up!
Thinking deep thoughts about the past
Ian and Veronika finding clay under rubble
Ancient ancestor idol
Lorraine and Lauren digging through the wall
Vitrified stone from the wall
What do you think about the vitrified stone Adrian?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Day 11 at Castle Law

Another extremely windy day, who knows how many tools and equipment have now ended up over the hill.  Everyone embraced the goggle fashion and kept digging.  The outer face of the inner enclosure is proving to be much deeper than the inner face and therefore more rubble had to be excavated for safety.  General rubble removal continues over the putative hut platform ('happening' (PVI 3, Poller in prep)) and another layer (other than just stones) is emerging ("is it, is it" C Mac pers comm).  In Trench E the vitrified soil is beginning to show distinct concentrations (ohhh....).

The outer wall in Trench G - keeps on going!
Zane excavating in the 2013 Trench E
Neil covered up to protect against the wind on top of the rampart in Trench E showing vitrified soil concentrations

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Day 10 at Castle Law

After a day of rest an elite team of hard core archaeologists get back to Castle Law, which today felt like a gritty cyclone.  If you live in Bridge of Earn there may be a few buckets in your back garden (no bucket control).   The team continued to dig... in Trench G a lot of progress was made in finding the outer face of the inner enclosure by Ilia and Johnny.  Gen and Cathy dug through rubble to find....more rubble.  In Trench E Ali was excavating the orange layer left in the original trench and Kenny and Neil kept digging the rampart, exposing stone on the south side and the areas of burnt soil on the crest.

What is that you are casually leaning on Johnny?
Ilia and Johnny point to a lovely giant green angular stone in the facing
Hiding from the wind in Trench E

Day 9 at Castle Law

Thursday was a lovely sunny day and we had several site visits.  Alice Watterson and Kieran Baxter came out to do some photography.  Alice and Kieran are working with the SERF hillfort project to develop a multimedia visualisation of the results of our work (very exciting!)  (see http://digitaldirtvirtualpasts.wordpress.com/ & http://www.topofly.com/ for some of Alice and Kieran's previous amazing work).

Digging continued in full force in all trenches and we are making great progress.

Alice doing some pole photography
Kieran setting up his kite for more photos
Hard work digging through spoil and rubble in Trench G
Neil enjoying the GPS in Trench E

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Day 8 at Castle Law

It was again dry at the top of the hill, but very windy...as a wise member of the team noted 'it was not a good day for people with eyes'...  We had a welcome visit from Dr Brophy.  The delicious homemade (but not by Kenny) croissants he brought were even more welcome!

In Trench G the team powered on and the inner wall face of the inner enclosure is now nearly completely exposed (where the antiquarian who first dug it (Bell) left it).  Planning and cleaning (but not necessarily in that order) continued in the other two trenches.

Lauren and Gert working on the inner wall face
Inner wall face...nice!
Johnny and Ilia hold tight as Cathy takes some photos of more rubble