Newsletter – Issue 153, May 2005
Members will be pleased to know that the vacancy on the Committee has been filled. Colin Wallace has accepted an invitation to join the Committee where his experience will be of great use to all.
Lin Wilkinson and Colin have become joint librarians and will be persuading members who attend our lectures at Fettes Row to make more use of our extensive library.
Outing to St Mary’s and Abercorn Churches
On Friday, 20th April seven of us visited two churches of historical interest. The first of these was constructed in South Queensferry as part of the Carmelite Priory of St Mary the Virgin. It was funded by the Dundas family in the 15th century. The nave and priory buildings have gone and extensive renovations were made about two years ago. Apart from this the fabric is more or less as it was when it was built. Features of interest are a chancel and south transept with barrel roof and an aumbry, piscina and sedilium set into the walls of the chancel. There is a low but large tower that must originally have contained a considerable amount of accommodation linked to the priory. All in all it must be one of the best-preserved churches of its kind in Scotland.
The main feature of interest at Abercorn was a collection of cross slabs and hog backed gravestones. The former date to the 7th century when the Northumbrians extended their influence to Lothian and established Bishop Trumwein at Abercorn. He had a short incumbency since the victory of the Picts over the Northumbrians at Nechtansmere forced him to flee. The hog backed stones are of Norse design and date to the 10th and 11th century. It is unlikely that the site was occupied by the Norse and more likely that the design was copied by the local populace.
Two Forts and a Souterrain
On Wednesday, 15th June we plan a trip to two local forts – Castle Law and Braidwood.
Castle Law is surrounded by three well-defined ramparts, but its main attraction is that it is linked to a souterrain. This has been reconstructed so that it is possible to explore its passages just as the Votadini did 2000 years ago. To get there leave Edinburgh on the A720 towards Biggar but turn right at a sign to the fort about two miles beyond Hillend. There is a car park close to the site.
Braidwood is a settlement that also has multiple ramparts but inside there is a trench that represents an earlier palisade. To get there go further down the A720 and turn into a small car park (large lay-by) on the right about ½ mile beyond Silverburn where there is a right of way sign. We shall then walk a short distance up a farm track and up a slope to the left to reach the settlement.
We plan to meet at the Castle Law car park at 2.00pm.
Early Technology Workshop for Members
Patrick Cave-Browne is going to hold an early technology workshop for members on Friday, 17th June.
Visit to St Kilda in June
It is hoped to arrange a visit to St Kilda for 4-5 days, to and from Tobermory, spending at least two full days on the island, provisionally leaving pm Saturday, 18th June and returning am Wednesday, 22nd June. The vessel would be the ‘Elizabeth G’ which takes National Trust parties out every fortnight during the summer. In between work parties it is available for charter, and owing to a cancellation, it is available at relatively short notice. Target cost – not more than £400 per person.
CSA Scottish Archaeology Fair Perth City Hall, 30th April 2005
Four EAFS members attended the CSA Fair on Saturday, 30th April. The EAFS table had a regular stream of visitors and a lot of leaflets were handed out. There was some interest from potential new members and we also had questions from present and future archaeology students about participation in excavations to gain practical experience. The Fair was well attended, other attractions including the Antonine Guard displays, Trimontium Trust, Scottish Crannog Centre and RCAHMS.