From Graveyard to Dovecote

Sorting and separating viewed from a safe distance

Last Saturday it was sufficiently warm and dry to hold an outdoor YAC session. We had an impressive turn out, with Aisling, Algirdas, Brodie, Caleb, Fraser, Katie, Michal, Mollie, Nicoleta and Ryan all contributing to an enjoyable and productive session.

We met up in the graveyard, as you do, to sort some of the finds and also to pick through sieved spoil from the dovecote in Pittencrieff Park, looking for the small bones of small animals, rusty roof nails and the like.

Once everyone had arrived we headed up to the dovecote to excavate and sieve yet more of the spoil from last summer. We have opened a new trench in the dovecote at right angles to the existing one. So far we have more evidence of fire, with finds of burnt animal bone and patches of ash and charcoal with fallen roof tiles mixed in.

One of the more substantial fragments of burnt wood has mortar on one side, suggests that it might once have formed part of an internal wooden frame against the wall to which the pigeon nesting boxes were fixed. If this interpretation is correct, then did it burn whilst still standing or after the frame had been dismantled?

We have been interpreting the evidence of fire in the dovecote as the remains of camp fires, lit for warmth and cooking purposes. But maybe there was an uncontrolled fire inside the dovecote that brought down the wooden nesting boxes and ladder? I think a visit to the library might be in order.

All the photos were taken by Aisling this week.

Sorting finds, dreaming of freedom
Sorting finds, dreaming of freedom
At work in the graveyard
At work in the graveyard
Sorting and separating viewed from a safe distance
Sorting and separating viewed from a safe distance
Impressive shovel action
Impressive shovel action
Sorting pottery and other finds
Sorting pottery and other finds
Is this a bone I see before me?
Is this a bone I see before me?
Excavating in the dust of the dovecote
Excavating in the dust of the dovecote
Hunting for finds in the spoil and raising dust
Hunting for finds in the spoil and raising dust
The luxury of indoor excavation
The luxury of indoor excavation
Sieving for gold, but finding small animal bones
Sieving for gold, but finding small animal bones
Triumphant young archaeologist
Triumphant young archaeologist
Alert young archaeologist
Alert young archaeologist
Evil young archaeologists?
Evil young archaeologists?

Archaeology Family Fun Day

Small People Hunting for Small Bones

We were invited by Edinburgh Archaeology Outreach Project (EAOP) to help with their first Family Fun Day, held at Summerhall on Saturday, so naturally we did. Aisling, Campbell, Ella, Kathryn, Keziah and Nicoleta came along to help run the Fife YAC stand and to enjoy the other activities on offer (including the rather tasty looking cakes).

We brought along the horse skeleton excavated by AOC near Cromarty and some of the sieved spoil from the dovecote in Pittencrieff Park, to let people have a go at finding small animal bones. We gave away lots of YAC postcards, so hopefully there will be at least one or two new members joining the Edinburgh group.

With 224 visitors visiting Summerhall over the course of the day, we were kept busy right up till 4 o’clock closing time. All four bags of spoil were sorted by lots of potential young archaeologists at no cost to us. Interestingly, the adults were much less eager to offer free labour. Meanies!

As usual, most of the photos were taken by Aisling.

The YAC Table
The YAC Table, Spot Cassidy with the Horse Bones
Small People Hunting for Small Bones
The YAC Floor: Small People Hunting for Small Bones
Some Archaeological Science
Some Archaeological Science
Pinning Bones onto a Skeleton
Pinning Bones onto a Skeleton
Treasure in the Sands
Treasure in the Sands
More Bones
More Bones
Stone Age in a Metal Box
Archaeology Scotland’s Stone Age in a Metal Box
Bronze Age in a Box
and Bronze Age in a Steel Box
Faces Painted
Faces Painted
Loyal Face Paint
A Source of Inspiration