Newsletter – Issue 166, January 2008
2008 got off to a good start with a very interesting and thought-provoking talk by Strat Halliday entitled Pictish Stones in the Landscape. In February we have Ian Suddaby on The Skye Project while our March talk will be by Dr Theo Skinner on The Tay Logboat – as always 7.30pm at 23a Fettes Row.
EAFS Visit to AOC Excavation in Kirkliston – 10/17 December 2007
EAFS members visited the AOC Archaeology Group excavation on the former Kirkliston Distillery/Scotmalt site. Most of the buildings had been demolished, leaving only two maltings which were to be incorporated in the new housing development.
In 1795 the Lambsmiln Distillery started operations here, later changing its name to Kirkliston Distillery. By the 1880s the Distillery was producing some 700,000 gallons of grain and malt whisky each year, grain being brought in to a railway siding. The distillery operated a steam locomotive, No 843. A description of the distillery while in operation can be found at http://www.peatfreak.com/alfred-barnard-kirkliston.php The distillery ceased spirit production and closed in 1920, and was later taken over by Scotmalt to produce malt extract for the food industry and for home brew beer kits. It may latterly have been used for storage by the nearby Drambuie site.
The area under excavation revealed a complex sequence of brick-built chimney and storage tank bases overlying a series of stone built culverts, three pillar bases and an overshot mill wheel pit. A small area of cobbling may indicate an earlier road alignment The complex water supply system, fed by two reservoirs, consisted of the mill leat, a by-pass culvert and other deeper culverts which were not fully revealed at the time of our visit. It was also noted that a small hill to the SW of the site was thought to be a motte.
This was a very interesting visit and a change from our usual diet of prehistoric, Roman and medieval. Our thanks to Murray Cook for arranging the visits and to Erlend Hindmarch for guiding us round the site.
Castlehill, Penicuik and Manuel Nunnery
Both the ground resistance survey conducted in the field to the south of Castlehill and the magnetometry plus ground resistance surveys that were made in conjunction with Geoff Bailey’s dig at Manuel Nunnery received grant support from Historic Scotland. The reports on these two surveys are now complete except for illustrations and will become numbers 17 and 18 in our geophysical series.
Penicuik is due to restart sometime in February – weather permitting. After an initial meeting on site to plan our 2008 campaign it will be all systems go to try and find out what we have actually got – some dateable finds would be nice.
The proposal to conduct a further geophysical survey and dig over a cropmark to the north of the Farl O Cakes field at Lauriston was on hold as there was a doubt concerning which aerial photograph showed this cropmark. This was resolved when it was realised that the cropmark was present on two oblique photographs but not on any of the vertical stereo pairs. Priority has now changed as John Lawson is planning to conduct a dig on the Roman fort at Cramond this summer that is likely to involve the Society. The dig at Farl O Cakes and the survey and dig to the north are again on hold until the Roman fort site investigation is resolved.