Pittencrieff Field School 2019 Blog: Day 16

By Kelly

If you are a plant this week was awesome; some much needed water in the summer. If you were an archaeologist at a  field-school you were drowning. Friday was no different. This was one of the most severe downpours we had this week, so we decided to stay indoors in the GlassRoom. Thankfully we had plenty of work there waiting for us. This mostly consisted of cleaning artefacts and sorting out bone. The people interested in osteology really hit the jackpot since we had a specialist, Mars, in our midst.  She taught us how to recognise even badly fragmented bone.

After an interesting morning, something crazy happened; the rain stopped and sun came through. The ground was still too wet to go to the graveyard and continue excavating, but it did provide an opportunity for those who wanted to see more of Dunfermline’s heritage to explore with Mark as guide. The tour first headed along to the small gorge with its stream (or burn in Scotland). We could see across to the palace, standing high on the other side, with its impressive walls.

Dunfermline Palace and the towers of the Abbey
Dunfermline Palace and the towers of the Abbey from across the Lyne Burn
The Lyne Burn after a bit of rain

We continued along the route to the museum showcasing the birthplace and life story of Andrew Carnegie. He was born and lived the first years of his life in a tiny, upstairs room, along with the rest of his family.

There were dressing up clothes in the cottage and games in the museum. Naturally, we behaved ourselves to the upmost standards expected of people representing a part of the heritage sector. As you can see.

Afterwards we went and took a closer look at the palace, refashioned in the late 16th century AD from the old guest house to the monastery. Here James the 6th’s wife, Queen Anne of Denmark, gave birth to the future king Charles 1st.

We explored the inside up close and got more information from the new interpretation boards and Mark. Viewed from the park the massive palace wall appears to be of uniform construction. Viewed from behind, we could see that this is an illusion. Now we could see how gothic arched windows had been cleverly converted into the more fashionable rectangular windows of the late 16th century.

Next stop was to the only fragment of the abbey presinct wall that still remains. The wall once surrounded the land belonging to the monastic community living in Dunfermline. Comparing each side of the wall showed us how the street level has risen over time. We examined some of the unique reused material the wall contained.

The last stop at our tour was back in the park, at the undercroft of St Catherine’s Chapel. It is hidden away on the edge of the park, on the other side of the road to the Abbey, under four huge trees. Here we had a real Indiana Jones moment trying to find out what was inside (the pictures tell all).

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