Newsletter – Issue 167, March 2008
On Wednesday, 16th April, Tertia Barnett will be talking on ‘Getting involved with Scotland’s Rural Past’ and there will be the opportunity for those interested in getting involved with this project to get more information.
David Connolly will be talking to us on Tuesday, 13th May, on ‘New Frontiers – Romans in the Lothians’.
The November talk by Simon Stronach has had to be changed as he will be far away at the time. Instead his colleague, Liz Jones, will be talking on ‘Recent Excavations in the Cowgate, Edinburgh – the medieval town and its defences’.
Visit to Cramond Tower: Thursday, 1st May at 7 pm (from Val Dean)
The Jamieson family has very kindly agreed to host a visit to the early 15th century Cramond Tower. The derelict tower was restored by them in the late 1970’s and a modern extension added in 1992 (on the footprint of an earlier extension, excavated by the Society).
The Society was delighted to receive a very generous donation from the Robert Kiln Trust which has enabled us to have the coin assemblage from the 1988-2001 excavations cleaned and conserved prior to their going to Nicholas Holmes for examination and report. Our most grateful thanks to the Trust.
Surveys in 2007 at Penicuik, Manuel and Ogilface
The reports for these three surveys, due to reach Historic Scotland before the end of March, were completed rather more quickly than expected. They were dispatched to Historic Scotland for approval on 18th February and by the end of that week a letter arrived saying they were ‘entirely acceptable’ and ‘thoroughly competent pieces of work. My congratulations to all involved’.
Fieldwalking at Carriden, 8th March 2008 (from Ian Hawkins)
EAFS again provided a good turn out of members to assist Geoff Bailey with fieldwalking the eastern part of Carriden Roman fort. On a very wet day which fortunately dried up in the late morning, a good quantity of Roman pottery was recovered including amphora, possible mortaria and several sherds of samian ware, including one decorated piece. We await Geoff’s report with interest.
Excavations at 76 Grahamsdyke Street, Laurieston, 13th – 15th March 2008
Excavations on the site of a house extension revealed clay and turf deposits from the collapsed rampart together with a narrow linear slot at right angles to the Wall line which was capped with turf. Several pieces of a small cooking pot were found adjacent. To the west of this slot there was evidence of in-situ turf work which may have been part of a possible expansion or watch tower rampart and a hearth containing some burnt bone.
Tree Clearance at Torwood Broch, 16th March 2008
Following on from last year’s efforts, clearance of most of the remaining trees and cutting of regrowth was completed, assisted greatly by the availability of a chainsaw operator. Geoff Bailey has commented ‘We had beautiful weather yesterday at the broch and cleared another substantial area of birch and the odd conifer. There has been very little regeneration from our work of the last two years and the site is looking far better. It is now possible to appreciate the contours of the outworks and the hilltop setting of the broch’.
The Barony of Ogilface
Time Team have shown interest in the historical research that John and Rosie Wells have done and in our two geophysical surveys to the west of Armadale. They have made their decisions on the sites to be excavated this year (which will go out in early 2009) and Ogilface is not included. It will however be considered for possible excavation in 2009 for transmitting in spring 2010.
Torpichen also lies within the Barony and there is action on two fronts to see whether we can, again in conjunction with John and Rosie Wells, survey over the humps and bumps that indicate the preceptory foundations.
Our excavation at Penicuik starts again on Sunday, 13th April, meeting at the entrance to the estate at 10.00am. No details of where we will be able to park near the site yet. Remember to have your tetanus jabs up to date.
Geophysical Surveys in 2008
Cousland Castle/Tower House and Nunnery
Our first geophysical search for the nunnery was on Saturday, 29th March. Further dates are still to be fixed but those of you on our email alert service will be informed as and when we know.
The magnetometry survey over the NE vicus area that lies to the E of Cramond House is programmed for early May and should be completed in one day although relaying out the grid squares will need to be done in advance. That part of the field nearest Cramond House is within the Scheduled Monument area but we have permission from Historic Scotland and also from the land agents of Cramond and Harthill Trust so all we have to do is give two weeks notice.
The vicus area is likely to include oven sites for cooking, kilns for pottery, brick and flue tile manufacture and possibly forges for metal working. The very limited magnetometry survey made in parallel with our resistance measurements early in 2004 did not include the periphery of the site so it is hoped that this magnetic survey will indicate some strong responses not found previously.
Luggate, Cousland Pottery and Old Pentland
David Connolly hopes to get permission for a small survey over the site of a 12th century chapel site reputedly beside the Old Pentland graveyard.
Cousland Pottery site will be available again after harvest in September.
Luggate will hopefully also become available for survey in the latter part of the year