Issue 137

Newsletter – Issue 137, April 2002

Cramond Excavations

Spring is in the air and our thoughts turn to getting that Cramond site finished once and for all!
So …. lots of help would be appreciated. Initially, we need to dismantle much of the vintage fencing around the site. This will require hammers, pliers, wire cutters, etc, as there is an assortment of old chainlink fencing and chicken wire, barbed wire and staples to remove. A much smaller area can then be enclosed since that’s all that remains to be backfilled. Tough gloves are essential – and make sure your tetanus shots are up to date.
This will start on Sundays, beginning on 7 April from around 10 am. The backfilling will probably commence on the following Sunday.
Please note that there may be no work on site on Sunday 21 April and on Sunday 12 May. Please check before hand.
As last year, it would be as well to park in the Public Car Park at the foot of Glebe Road and to reach the site via the footpath leading up from the right-hand side of the car park entrance. DO NOT leave any jackets, bags, cameras, etc, in your car, as these are popular targets for thieves who do not hesitate to break car windows to gain access. Although the Kirk Hall extension is complete, the area of the car park there is considerably reduced and may be short of space while the Kirk is in.
We hope to set up regular sessions at the City Archaeology Department at Broughton Market in order to deal with the vast number of finds from the site.

Outing

Visit to Craigie Hill Fort (map reference NT 153757)
We plan to visit a particularly interesting iron age/medieval hill fort at Craigie Hill at 10.30am on Saturday 6 April 2002. To get there by car, turn off to the west on a minor road at the first turn off the A90 northwest of Cramond Brig. About ¾ of a mile along this minor road, another minor road turns off to the north. We should meet at this junction. Parking is difficult here so please make sure that you do not block the road for other drivers.

Broughton Market

Work on listing all the finds from John Lawson’s project of fieldwalking beside the A71 finally finished on 12 March. The next session is at 10.30am on 2 April when work on the Cramond finds will start.

Lectures

Our March lecture (Place Names of the Lothians by Iain Fraser) was fascinating. Wednesday 17 April promises to be just as interesting – Pont Project: The Antiquities by Christopher Fleet.
The committee have started early on the preparation of a lecture programme for the year 2003. In the past we have always attempted to contrive a mixture of talks that span from prehistory into the medieval with particular interest in subjects that derive from recent excavations, especially if they are Scottish.
We have also attempted to include at least one talk per year not related to a specific excavation and sometimes not even specifically archaeology – two talks recently by Dr Bruce Hobbs on geophysical applications and the very recent one by Iain Fraser on the derivation of Lothian place names are examples.
We would be pleased to have some input on what sort of talks you prefer and would do our best to act upon suggestions of subject. If the names of a speaker could be coupled with the subject we would be doubly pleased.

Pittencrieff Park

Two further resistivity sessions have been held at Pittencrieff Park exploring the areas that have shown crop marks on two separate aerial photographs.
On 12 February we took readings over a 900 sq metre area at the eastern end of the northerly crop mark; if this is the ha-ha that was in existence in about 1900 we appear to have reached the backfilled NE corner. As with most resistivity the picture presented is not straight forward; there is a diagonal line that cuts across the corner of the ha-ha showing up high resistance. It could be a more modern drain that takes surface water from the E-W walkway downhill to the east.
On 19 February, in a day curtailed by afternoon rain, a further section of 500 sq metres was surveyed on the north side of the crop mark that lies SE from the ha-ha. The printout shows four broad high resistance bands that may be the residues of walls – but they could equally be land drains!

Nynia Well Field, Hopetoun

A final resistivity survey on 29 January concentrated on a quick look at a very obvious linear feature that runs across a field to the north of the cropmark that we have examined previously. We could not make measurements in the field where the feature is most obvious but followed its line westwards into a pasture area. Historical records show that the old road from South Queensferry to Linlithgow ran along the coast through Society and Abercorn before apparently turning inland. The two areas on which we conducted the resistivity survey indicate a possible presence of the road with a ditch on its south side.

Overhailes, East Lothian

As part of a larger project to attempt to see how Traprain Law fits into the many scheduled crop marked areas (Iron Age enclosures) in its vicinity we have been liasing with Durham University who have been working in this area for some time. Our efforts to field walk and make a resistivity survey over a crop mark at Overhailes Farm last year were frustrated by foot and mouth restrictions. Plans to conduct this survey over the weekend 20-21 April have now been frustrated by the winter wheat crop springing up more rapidly than in most springs! Our survey will have to wait until the crop comes off the field and it is ploughed around July-August.