Saturday 11 August 2012

Hi there, I’m Astrid, student at Aberdeen University (about to enter third year) and I’m very happy of being part of the SERF project for this year’s session.

Another very hot, exciting day at Leadketty comes to an end. Our site consists of three trenches. In the first trench we revealed many round features marking a circle. The second trench, in which I’m working, consists of a mini henge feature with a centre. The south terminal of the henge is burnt and we also found burnings around it. In addition to this, under the top soil we found medieval furrows. The features of postholes came to the surface in our third trench. Today we made a very exciting find in the third trench which was a worked flint.
We started our day by finishing our pre-excavation plan drawings. The original features that were dug up will be lost during the process of excavation and due to this it is crucial to take exact records of the site before excavation can start. The drawings not only include the co-ordinates of the feature but also enable us to re-view the feature once it has been excavated.
After we finished our drawings we were shown how to take photographs of the features we are about to excavate. It is important that there are no tools, people or shadows included in the picture. The photograph should only be taken when there are scales put up next to the feature. We should make sure to take a straight picture and to record the photograph in the record book.
After the recording we started to excavate the centre feature of the henge in half section. During this process it is important to keep to the feature’s edge and to not include the natural soil. We are working by stratigraphy. While excavating the features we have to take precise notes on the texture, the colour and other details. It is also significant to take samples of the layers we are excavating.
I’m really thrilled what tomorrow might bring to the surface and very proud of being part of such a great project and team!


Hey, I’m David, a Glasgow University student entering third year and taking part in the SERF project for this season. I’m working at Castle Craig, an Iron Age site which when excavated in 2011 revealed a broch – the only broch in the surrounding area, so a very important discovery. This year the site is undergoing excavation again as part of a feasibility study due to its unique nature.

Today I was working in Trench 9, set on the south bank of the hill. The first job of the day was to extend the trench in order to gain better knowledge of a set of tumbled stones discovered the previous day during cleaning. The topsoil was full of tangled roots, which made it very difficult to mattock through. It was time consuming but worth it - the stones exposed now reveal what could potentially be a collapsed wall from a structure or part of a large bank. The feature still needs to be cleaned and looked at in further detail to gain a better idea of what to do next in the excavation process. Ryan scanned the trench with a metal detector today – revealing a lot of possible finds underneath the soil. Trench 8 appears to have 6 finds, one of which may possibly be silver, which could be rather exciting. The detector can’t pick up alloys, which means we must be extra careful when excavating in order to discover pieces of metal such as bronze which has already been found in this particular trench.

On the top of the hill, the three other trenches currently open continue to make progress. Trench 8 in the East was faced with the issue of finding various stones which had tumbled over a slope but with limited finds and no real idea of what exactly occurred in this area. A discovery late in the working day revealed what is thought to be a portion of the outer face of the broch. The team in Trench 6 in the North is continuing to clean back the soil, reaching a medieval occupation layer – revealing a few finds including a possible lead weight. The team also uncovered a piece of the broch wall today. Trench 1 is still being excavated in order to uncover the parts of the broch found last year, but there’s still plenty to go before the full extent of the broch is revealed in the trench. There is also the possibility of a newly discovered posthole which could be excavated in Trench 1 but further investigation will be required.

Hi everyone,
Jules writing to you today! We woke up today energised, excited and in hot pursuit of archaeology in the stupendous sunshine that Perthshire is currently providing.  Day 3 at Castle Craig was more than willing to accommodate us in our quest!
We have been digging, drawing and unearthing some excellent archaeology. In continuing cleaning our trenches and removing some more big stones we exposed some more of the broch (its entrance is teasing us in the ground) and found some more pottery (possibly Roman). Also, and very excitingly, there have been small pieces of lead, copper and bronze found (Woo Hoo!!).
The next few days are looking promising and fingers crossed our hunt for postholes in the rampart shall be accomplished!! Especially since such a find was made last year on the other side of the site. It’s promising to be another exciting time at SERF! Castle Craig is certainly living up to the rave reviews from last year…

Thursday 9 August 2012

 Day 2 at Castle Craig

Hello everyone!!

I’m part of the wonderful team at this exciting site! It’s an Iron Age broch which was later used by the Romans and it was excavated for the first time last year. We arrived there yesterday to set out the four trenches, one of which is a repeat of last year, and start the thrilling task of de-turfing. After many blisters, we are now getting to the good stuff! Today, Ryan went by with the metal detector as the rest of us continued digging. So far, the trench from last year has been cleared out revealing the outer wall and we are starting to hit the big rocks in the new trenches too so hopefully in the next few days we will be able to say a bit more about the structure of the broch. Its’ been slow-going with the trowels but we’ve found a few things of note which is always nice. I, personally, was seriously excited to find a sheep mandible (that’s a jaw bone by the way – a fact I learnt today…). More importantly though we found some small pieces of Roman pottery and a pounding stone along with some other finds. I’m sure there is way more to come so watch this space! Its’ going to be three more weeks of fun in the Scottish sun!

Yvonne and others at Castle Craig deturfing
Ryan using the metal detector on site

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Hi Vesa here!! Yesterday we arrived to our accommodation in Strathallan School. After settling down we were introduced to the area of the research and the landscape of the Strathearn Valley. During the same evening we also got out hands dirty for the first time, as we begun cleaning up the trenches in Leadketty. This morning powered by a massive breakfast, we were divided in to three groups and sent into the sites that are being excavated during the summer 2012. The sites are located at Leadketty, Castle Craig and the village of Dunning, and we expect them to reveal more information about the meaning of the landscape in Forteviot in the past. After a day of endless shovelling, hoeing, mattocking and barrowing the site were begging to take shape! We gladly await the treasure that they are hiding. The weather was sunny and the first day passed quickly, and we were looking forward to opening a nice cold beer!