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I'm on a year's CBA Community Archaeology Training Placement at Northlight Heritage in Glasgow

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Week 10 - Glenshee Excavations

I was very lucky to spend most of this week up in the amazing landscape of Glenshee on an excavation which is jointly led by Northlight Heritage and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust http://www.pkht.org.uk/ We were investigating a pictish long house with turf and stones walls.  We found some enigmatic post holes underneath one of the turf walls!  Very intriguing.  The highlight of my week was working with children from Kirkmichael Primary school.

Catch up with the dig on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlensheeArchaeologyProject

Aerial Photo of children from Kirkmichael Primary on the Ring Cairn

Aerial photo from kite of Kirkmichael Primary children and their trench over a clearance cairn
Me surveying a Pitcarmick house with children from Kirkmichael Primary: copyright © George Logan 2013

Me surveying a Pitcarmick house with children from Kirkmichael Primary copyright © George Logan 2013

Monday, 17 June 2013

Week 9

One great thing about Community Archaeology is that you get to meet lots of different people.  This week I started working on a Heritage Skills survey for the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative http://innerforthlandscape.wordpress.com/.  This involved going to meet communities around the inner reaches of the river Forth and talking to them about which aspects of their heritage interest them.  I saw places I'd never seen before - such as the magnificent Lime Kilns at Charleston and heard how even people as far away as Australia are concerned for their conservation.
On the other side of the Forth I spoke to the Friends of Kinneil - a very active heritage group, who've produced lots of resources to engage local people in their heritage, such as this brilliant film: http://www.bonessmining.org.uk/

 I also went to meet two nice ladies from the Scottish Buildings Preservation Trust at the Haining in Selkirk.  This is the site of a new Community Archaeology Project, which I'm working on http://www.thehaining.co.uk/sccap.htm we had a look around the exciting site of a medieval Motte and Bailey Castle and discussed how we are going to get local volunteers involved.

But I didn't do all the visiting.  At the start of this week Tara - the Community Archaeology Placement Coordinator at the CBA came to see me!  It was great to catch up and make sure I'm on track with my placement.  Thanks Tara!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Week 8 Continued

I spent one morning this week sorting out our records from the Hidden Heritage Project - which also hit the press:http://www.helensburghadvertiser.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2013/05/13/457083-video-hidden-heritage-project and was on BBC Radio Scotland Out of Doors as well.  I am missing the Arrochar alps, but on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of this week I traded the Cobbler for Govan Old Church - just as evocative a place!  The re-display of the Govan stones is magic and well worth seeing for yourself http://www.thegovanstones.org.uk/  I spent several hours at the tail end of the week getting to grips with Adobe Illustrator to produce some learning materials for the p6-7s and their teachers on drop spinning.  Thanks to Ingrid for her patience!  

We used chopsticks and clay to make spindle whorls and then decorated them with Viking runes.  Whoever thought p6-7 boys would enjoy spinning so much?  We also did some paper weaving as a way of introducing the Weaving Truth with Trust project to the classes.  http://weavingtruthwithtrust.org/

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Week 8 - It all started in a carpark

Archaeology in car parks is very fashionable these days!  My week started with a visit to Cumnock - to this car park where you can see foundations poking through the tarmac of an old Inn which stood on the site.  If you google it you find it's haunted!  Jesting aside, I'm very excited about our new project "Cumnock Digs It" - which, as well as re-claiming a central space in the town for temporary community use, will get local 16-25 year olds into archaeology and learning new skills, to help them on the path to positive futures!

The rest of the week holds more excitement in store - when Northlight Archaeology hits the Govan Fair - the oldest procession in Glasgow http://thegovanfair.org/?page_id=238

But before that kicks off I wanted to make sure you all listen to BBC Radio Scotland's Out of Doors programme on Saturday, because their very own Mark Stephen came to the Hidden Heritage Dig last week to interview us about the project 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0074hjr  If you aren't up at 6.30 on Saturday, you can get it on iPlayer!

Week 7 - The enigmatic mounds...Not even a clearance cairn?

Well - It arrived far too soon - the last week of excavation in Arrochar....the last chance to find some evidence of Viking graves along the isthmus from their pre-Battle of Largs raiding spree (see above picture!).  Local folk stories tell of large mounds, in which Viking ship burials are concealed.  Well, I'm afraid we had to disappoint - and found only 2 natural mounds.  Has it been hard maintaining the community's enthusiasm with no Viking treasure?  Answer: NO!  They have loved it.  It has been great to witness such a positive reception for what some might say was not-terribly-exciting archaeology and to find out that normal people can also get excited about tiny little bits of flint and chert (Our star find was a flint blade - pictured with the finder below - she is a local Mum who runs the Brownies!)
We rounded off the week by visiting the now famous site of High Morlaggan - famous as a benchmark Scottish Community Archaeology project on a boulder strewn hillside above Loch Long, and afterwards we took to the Village Hall dancefloor for the best "Sooth" Ceilidh I think I've ever been to (Orcadian ceilidhs take a lot of living up to!)  I was sad to leave Arrochar but exciting about the new challenges ahead...