Thursday 18 August 2011

Day 17 Castle Craig

Hello Marco here, I have often heard people saying that there is no good weather for excavations. Well, first day excavating at SERF this year on Castle Craig hillfort and it was near perfect, apart from a few drops of rain around noon.

Work went well and the find of the day was undoubtedly a blackened stone vessel with a handle and rim decoration along with some other goods and much evidence of burning. This was found in the entrance way to the structure on top of the hill, hidden under a large slab of stone. A great day to begin, I hope that the rest of my time here proves as interesting and that the sun keeps shining!

Day 16- Castle Craig Hillfort

Day 16 Castle Craig Hillfort

Greetings and salutations to all and sundry on what may be regarded as a monumental day at this years SERF project! My name is Cameron and I am a 3rd Year student at the University of Glasgow...but enough of inconsequential details like that! Today Castle Craig Hillfort yielded not one but several spectacular finds from the ample trench. Not even poor weather conditions could dampen our spirits, which were dazzled by the finds.

Firstly Christina, A new edition to ‘Team Awesome’, as we have come to be referred to, found a 10cm bronze pin. Shaped to a point at one end and a hole at the thicker end, it has been speculated that the artefact could have been part of a Pejanular Brooch. Unfortunately, no other evidence was found to corroborate this as of yet, but it would be fair to say this proved a rather exciting first day on site for Christina!

Could this day get any better i hear you ask. It only took half an hour. It seemed I had only just returned to the mine shaft im digging, when I was excitedly summoned to the summit of the hillfort again..

Throughout the day there were many other finds, lots of recording was required and excitement was running high on the trench. For one and all a memorable day at Castle Craig.

Apologies for the lack of photos in the past few days, the uploading does not seem to be working but hopefully this will be sorted soon!!

Day 18 - Haly Hill

Hello bloggers from Strathallan! My name is Luis, I'm a Spanish student and I'm going to tell you how today was working in the Haly Hill trenches. During the morning most of us were drawing plans. It was a bit tricky but we managed to do it fine thanks to Rebecca and Kevin, they supervised and helped us all the way through. Apart from that the digs in Trench 2 and 4 (the farms of the 18th century) were going on yet we didn't find anything really interesting. Instead we focused on measuring levels and taking pictures. I think that we wont be able to do anything more significant to the project. Time flies and the day after tomorrow is the end of the dig.

This afternoon was a more relaxed part of the day due to the rain. It was so hard and we had to stop and spend part of the time in the Forteviot village hall.

Definitely days are starting to be different. It seems that everything has a farewell atmosphere. I can't believe that the 3 weeks of excavation are almost finished. It was a great experience that I'm sure we will not forget.

 Bye to everybody!!!

Planning, planning and more planning!

Who knew levelling was so much fun!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Day 17 – Churchyard

Hello, Stuart here to fill you in on activities in the churchyard trench. Things got off to a bad start today as our self-elected leader Trish had gone AWOL again. Fortunately Adrian was able to deputise adequately until she returned after the tea break to sort things out.

After many days of what seemed like fruitless digging we are now actually down to some interesting archaeology. Maybe not quite as interesting as the Roman pot found the other day, but still, better than nothing. We are currently in the process of excavating several potential early medieval graves. One of which is almost definitely a grave as Ron found teeth and other bone in his feature where the head would have been. Postholes around the graves have also been uncovered which may be related.

In the North half of the trench we have found a feature which Adrian is “99%” sure is a pictish round barrow, but he has been wrong before…more than once. There is a grave on the north side of the barrow that cuts into a possible prehistoric feature. So finally the trench is beginning to look exciting.
Ron and Adrian excavating out some of the graves

Day 16 – Haly Hill

Hi my name is Juan from Spain and I have been excavating today in the Haly Hill trenches. We are getting into a really old context, possibly medieval. This is really exciting because it is the closest we can get to Kenneth MacAlpin’s Palace. It has been really interesting as well because the metallic tool we found in Trench 2 has been identified as a scythe. I found particularly funny the fact that I had to draw two plans and I hate drawing plans. It has been ironic that I found a nail that was recorded as a small find but other things that I found which I thought were more interesting haven’t received the same attention.

Day 14 - Open Day

Hi everyone, I’m Joss, here to fill you in on today’s events at the SERF open day in Forteviot. This event proves popular every year, and 2011 was no exception.

Once everyone was briefed on the plan for the day, we started setting up the trenches and village hall, ready for visitors. We had various finds from this year and previous years on display, with students on hand to answer any questions. The Women’s Institute were there to serve coffee, and strawberries and cream fresh from Dunning. My family were among the first visitors to arrive, so I gave them a ‘test run’ of the guided tour. Other students in each trench helped me out with any questions asked. When we returned to the hall, it was busy with more visitors.

I took my family to Castle Craig, the site I have been digging. Other members of the hillfort team brought their friends and family too. Everyone was shown round the various features of this dramatic site, and Heather showed us an exciting new find; a suspected Iron Age oil lamp! Just as we arrived, Tessa produced a fragment of quern stone from the main trench. Once everyone was shown round the site, we headed back to Forteviot. It was near the end of the day, but a few more visitors were looking for a tour. Danny, Cameron and I showed them around the trenches in the village. When the open day ended, we had a SERF barbeque behind the village hall, in the great Scottish sun. A fantastic end to another fantastic day on the field school!

Day 13 at Ben Effrey.

Daniel here representing Team Jeffrey, a power of work has been done up the hill since the last blog entry from us.

Vlad was missing from the team so it was just Adriana, Cathy, Tessa, Tom and I.

I was working on the back from the ditch. Trying to uncover the bottom layer of soil, going through the slope up to the ditch. I would call it a lesson in power mattocking!

Adriana was half excavation planning the bottom and middle ramparts, with Tessa and Cathy taking a section through the middle rampart, moving a sizeable amount of stone!

Tom was uncovering some more stone at the top rampart, uncovering a level of clay soil which we think could connect through a line of stone behind the top rampart.

Best news of the day came from the area Cathy was working, uncovering a large portion of slag, so we could possibly have an iron smelt, or more likely a domestic hearth. Find No. 3, delighted

We had an impromptu tour of the site today for a group of hill walkers, who had seen the geophysical survey being done, so it was nice for some outside eyes to see Jeffrey, and the power of work we have done. Hope to see some of you up the hill, laters!

The Last Day on the Manse Trench! (17.08.11)

Hi Lewis here. And so, as a new day dawns on Forteviota drastic improvement in the weather and our spirits brought a pleasant return to work on the tench at the Manse. For myself, having just returned to Forteviot for the final work, the extension to the trench wrought no rewards. No structures, features or finds arose. However, as the final stages of excavation are readied work continues.

Fiona set about excavating a small post hole and sought to reveal the exact character of the pit containing metal working debris. Robbie and Ewan lifted part of the wall and all the paving  to seek what lies underneath.

Although thus far no substantial or enlightening evidence has arisen today, as ever and as the last few days of the 2011 season of the SERF project continue no doubt a few surprises remain to be uncovered. 

Update! The excavation of the Manse trench has today finished with no new finds. Tomorrow it will be back filled and our best efforts made to return the Manse lawn to normal.