Issue 146

Newsletter – Issue 146, January 2004

Outings

We will be visiting the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh at 2pm on Wednesday, 25th February. It has a wide range of fascinating exhibits illustrating the history of Surgery over the last few hundred years. I have been told that since I am a fellow of a sister college I can take you in as guests. This means that we will not have to pay for admission.
To give ourselves some leeway I suggest that we meet at 1.45pm outside the college. It is the large building on Nicholson Street that looks a bit like the Parthenon – but it has not lost its marbles!

Previous Projects

As a sort of New Year resolution I tried and, as with most New Year resolutions, failed, to get all our outstanding previous projects written up by the end of 2003. (Outstanding as per the dictionary definition of ‘not yet complete’ as opposed to the alternative definition of ’eminent, remarkable’). Copies of the following are now lodged in the EAFS library: –
Cramond Walled Garden, Lauriston, East Bonhard, Hopetoun, Cramond (beside trench H) and the interim Penicuik report.
Newhailes will follow shortly followed by Pittencrieff.
The copies despatched to Historic Scotland have produced the comment ‘Yours is very much the sort of information needed to help understanding of geophysics on Scottish soils’. I am taking that as reasonably complimentary!

Dig at Eddleston

EAFS members joined with the Peeblesshire Archaeological Society to excavate on the cropmark site that we had previously covered in a ground resistance survey.
Trevor Cowie’s report on the results states, ‘Although differences may be due to the former presence of an enclosure bank, definite traces proved decidedly elusive’. This is a good archaeological euphemism for ‘we did not really find anything’ and is in line with my statement on the last EAFS News ‘the printout was not the clearest ever produced’ – well you can’t win them all.

Cramond Resistivity

The survey to the east of Cramond House mooted in the last EAFS News started, as expected, on 8th November. Four Saturday sessions have so far surveyed over 5000 sq m with a bit further to go before we run into the sewer pipe area. A low resistance area runs along the north side: this is roughly the line of the ha-ha shown on the 1815 map but it is on the break of slope and could also indicate a change of geology. There are other patches of low and high resistance but no linear low that might indicate the eastward line of Nic Holmes ‘defensive boundary’. No conclusions yet on what these features may be but, as we are just starting to move east of the Scheduled Monument area, we might just be permitted to dig.

Corstorphine and Dalmeny

The City of Edinburgh archaeological officer, John Lawson, has asked the Society to conduct ground resistance surveys over an area in Corstorphine and at the road junction in Dalmeny village. The extent of the medieval village at Corstorphine is not known but must have been considerable. At its heart were not only the parish church but also the collegiate church founded by the Forrester family. Between them they had at least six chaplains and two ‘singing boys’. Sir John Forrester provided three acres of ground in the village for erecting houses for the chaplains and for pasturage for three horses and three cows. Hopefully some foundations will be detectable.
The medieval village of Dalmeny appears to have been built right up to the road: the humps and bumps of the present grass certainly suggest that.
No dates yet for either survey but likely to be after midsummer.

Penicuik

We can commence work on the possible motte and bailey site on 1st February but the actual start date will depend on weather and access. Two car silencers were damaged on the track to the site in good weather last year so we will not be taking any risks. More details after we have made a recce.

Dates for your Diary

Wednesday, 18th February. EAFS lecture – Robin Murdoch on Fast Castle.
Tuesday, 23rd March. EAFS lecture – Geoff Bailey of Falkirk County Museum Services on Excavations at Carriden and Mumrills on the Antonine Wall.
Wednesday, 21st April. EAFS lecture – Dr David Caldwell of the National Museums of Scotland on Change and Continuity in Scotland in the 12th and 13th Centuries.