Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Day 6 continued...

Work continued on the Forteviot cemetery site. Many of the cut features still proved to be elusive - drying in the heat and becoming difficult to see. Nonetheless, there was success in tracing the ditch of the large square enclosure - a portion of which lies underneath a broad silt deposit - and therefore needing further excavation. In the area where the ditch is visible a section was excavated by Kirsten.

While most students gained excavation experience on the main sites other students were learning to survey elsewhere- Haileigh has written about hers below...


"Today I worked on Standing Building Survey with three other students. The building in question was a doocot at the Green of Invermay. The building resembled a hexagonal shaped tower, perhaps five meters in height, made largely of sandstone. We viewed the inside, which had small compartments which would be used for pigeons to nest.

Dr. Hall and Prof. Driscoll explained to us a brief history of the building, which could potentially be as early as 17th century, as well as teaching us the basics of standing building survey. The archaeological aspect of the survey is important in that it highlights different phases of work such as extensions and what this can tell us about the building and surrounding at this particular time. This did become apparent during the survey, as we could see where stone and mortar had been conserved-for example, some of the material used to replace the older harling had gone a different colour of grey and seemed less gritty, and it was evident this patch had been renewed.

We worked in pairs to each record a side of the wall, below a baseline which sat roughly 2.20m above ground. My partner, Eilidh, did the majority of the drawing (due to her artistic talents) on a 1:10m scale on tracing paper over a grid of 1mm, and I did most of the measuring of the stones and features in the wall-communication is a vital aspect of this survey. Our side was the North side which was well shaded by trees. There were no real ‘features’, but a huge amount of stone and mortar work, which could be tricky and meticulous to accurately record, measure and transcribe to paper, but it was an enjoyable task and good to do something completely different from the digging that is most commonly associated with archaeology.

In the afternoon, we were taken on a mini field-trip to the houses on the estate of Invermay. The first house we observed was a potentially 17th century castle with later additions such as barn buildings. The castle features were evident on the wall as the outlines of gun-loops (now blocked up) were clearly visible. The front of the house had a protruding semi-circular wall where the door stood, probably with a staircase inside, and above the door was a triangle feature which included four letters, likely to mark initials of two individuals who had married. Professor Driscoll suggested that this may have been an earlier feature which was later moved to the new entrance. Furthermore, stones on the chimney can show that the roof was originally thatched, as these stones traditionally were used to re-direct water from the top of thatch. Observing this collaboration of old and new in one building can show the benefits of standing building survey, as small details can show how buildings were used at certain times in their life-cycles."


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