We are Heritage Heroes

Kathryn and Olivia cutting the Heritage Hero celebration cake

On Saturday 21st January Kathryn, Mark and Olivia represented Dunfermline YAC at the official launch of Archaeology Scotland’s Heritage Hero award scheme at the amazing Argyll’s Lodging just below Stirling Castle.

The posh entrance to Argyll's Lodging
The posh entrance to Argyll’s Lodging

Kathryn and Olivia took the chance to explore the house. They best remember the barrel-vaulted kitchen, with its massive fire-place. It had been rebuilt of stone in the 16th century after the original, wooden kitchen had burnt to the ground. It is kitted out with replica jugs and bowls and other kitchen equipment to give an idea of what it had looked like in the past. Olivia was disappointed not to be able to pick up the knives that had been glued to the chopping boards. Kathryn, on the other hand, was quite glad.

Model of Argyll's Lodging next to Stirling Castle
Model of Argyll’s Lodging next to Stirling Castle

There were people from all over Scotland at the launch who had helped to pilot the awards. Some folk talked about the projects they had run. They included a cool project in Kilmarnock. Seven school children had researched the lives of  men from the local railway-works who had fought in World War 1. The research was used in museum displays and even to produce a book.

Slide showing the location of all the Heritage Hero Pilot Projects across Scotland
Slide showing the location of all the Heritage Hero Pilot Projects across Scotland
Mark talking about the YAC graveyard project at the launch
Mark talking about the YAC graveyard project at the launch

Mark talked a bit about the Dunfermline Abbey graveyard project and a school project he had helped with at a local primary school. Olivia had participated in both projects. She talked about how she had come to join YAC as a result of getting  involved with the school project. Olivia was cheered when we realised that she is probably the first person in the world to get two Heritage Hero awards.

Olivia talking about the Heritage Hero projects she was involved with
Olivia talking about the Heritage Hero projects she was involved with

Kathryn and Olivia rounded things off by first cutting and then eating large amounts  a celebration cake. Olivia found the fondant covering a little too sweet and thick, but enjoyed the sponge. Kathryn just ate and enjoyed it. Mark, inconsiderately, spent so much time, gassing that Kathryn and Olivia had to drag him off without even trying the cake. What a shame.

Kathryn and Olivia cutting the Heritage Hero celebration cake
Kathryn and Olivia cutting the Heritage Hero celebration cake.

However, we had good soup in the castle café, enjoyed the fog and had a look round the gift shop. Olivia bought postcards and soap for her mum while Kathryn bought a fancy, medieval catapult, pencil sharpener so she can ping things at her siblings. It works well. Mark wasn’t allowed to buy anything.

Stirling Castle in the fog
Stirling Castle in the fog
Olivia and Mark turning their backs on Kathryn
Olivia and Mark turning their backs on Kathryn

Medieval Minecraft!

We had an excellent session with Scotland’s Urban Past and Steven from Immersive Mind yesterday. We are working together to create a map of medieval  Dunfermline using the computer game Minecraft, which many of our members are already avid fans of!

Our YACers and Steven

Steven has created a map of Dunfermline using information taken from Google maps. It includes local landmarks like the Glen, which has hills, trees and the river running through it. Impressive! But we must populate it with buildings! First off, Abbot House. Once the group has built Abbot House on our server, Steven will lift the building and place it in to this pre-created topography of Dunfermline.

Flying over the Glen on the big screen

Next, Fiona from SUP did a session on Mason’s marks. Those longer-serving YAC members might remember the walk around Dunfermline Abbey we did to hunt for Mason’s marks. These marks were identifying marks which Mason’s would carve in to stone to mark their handiwork. We decided that it would be a nice idea for each YAC member to design their own mark which they could then place somewhere on each of their Minecraft builds. Each member came up with their own unique design, some using their initials. We then had a go at placing these into a Minecraft build so we could see what they would look like.

Katie designing her Mason’s mark
Kathryn designing her Mason’s mark
Everyone’s marks placed together into the front of a building

Next, Dougie talked us through the excellent work he and Erin have done to convert old archival documents and measurements of Abbot House in to easy to understand plans that we can build from. Thank you Dougie and Erin for all of your hard work on this over the last few months! We now have plans which have been converted in to Minecraft blocks so that we can begin building our masterpiece!

We thought we would let everyone have a little go at using the plans and everyone seemed to pick it up really quickly. We soon had something resembling a very early Abbot House. We chatted about what materials we thought it may have been made from, and chose appropriate Minecraft blocks to reflect this. We also chatted about the fact that we know there was an external staircase to the first floor, but have no documents to show what this would have looked like. Members are now experimenting with finding somewhere to fit a staircase that won’t block windows and doors.

 

Caelan quickly gets cracking on building the ground floor of Abbot House

 

We have set a task for each member at home. We would like you (perhaps with a littler independent research) to build your own building to go on to the Maygate (opposite Abbot House). It could be a shop, or maybe a home. You will need to think about what materials your building would be made of, and what would be inside. Maybe it is a building where several families live, which would have been common in poor, overcrowded places. What would each family need? A bed? A fireplace? Were there any animals on your land? The only stipulation is that your building can be a maximum of 16 blocks wide and 10 blocks deep. Happy building Minecrafters!

 

If you didn’t manage to come along to the session but have signed up for your Minecraft login then please keep an eye on your email because I have sent you further details to help you get started.

 

Charlotte