Rhynie, Aberdeenshire

Rhynie, Aberdeenshire
The Craw Stane with Tap o'Noth hillfort in the background (Photo courtesy of Cathy MacIver).

Friday, 23 November 2012

Rhynie Village Meeting: Great Success!

Last night Dr G gave a talk at Rhynie village to around 120 community folks on a cold November evening. The latest results of the project were outlined and amazing new X-ray images of the Rhynie artefacts were on show.

Most importantly though the village pulled out all the stops and made Rhynie Men gingerbread! Not only was this the tastiest gingerbread on the planet, it was made with an amazing cookie cutter specially made by the Scottish Sculpture Workshop.

Delicious home-made Rhynie Men!

Thanks to everyone attending. I can't decide though whether to keep my last Rhynie Man biscuit as an icon worthy of museum preservation or to have it will a nice cup of tea for elevenses....
 - Gordon

Pin X-Ray! Amazing!

A few days ago up in Aberdeen, we had specialists look at our iron artefacts and run them through a high-tech X-ray.  This is in advance of conservation going ahead on the objects to make sure they are protected and preserved.  The most amazing result was from our unique iron axe-shaped pin.  The X-ray allows us to 'see through' the corrosion on the artefact and will give the conservator a clear idea of where the real edges of the pin are.  The X-ray showed how delicate the spriral decoration is coming off the axe-head and also what looks like a loop at the top of the pin.  This might mean that at one time there was a chain or strap attached to the pin (to help keep it in place on your cloak, for example) or perhaps the object was also meant to be hanging like a pendant.  Ewan is on the case investigating the X-ray and the conservator is excited about how fantastic an object this is. There may even be hints that the spiral is an animal, but we need another X-ray to think about that option! Gordon and I are ectastic! There was some dancing around over the phone.... we admit it.
A snapshot of our x-ray - a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

REAP Update

We may not be digging, but there is a lot of furious activity going on inside these days.  Gordon has been 'washing cremated bone' (he does need a hobby....) from the site.  Provisional identifications suggest it is actually animal bone.  It is much more intensely fired than just normal burnt animal bone for cooking, so this adds an interesting puzzle to the mix.  We found burnt bone in almost every feature at Rhynie, so it is pretty important for us to figure out what it was doing there and what date it is.  Hopefully we have enough to secure a few radiocarbon dates to help us with the puzzle.
Meggen is off to Cardiff on Thursday to present Rhynie at the Cardiff Archaeology Research Seminars (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/share/newsandevents/events/archaeology/cardiff-archaeology-research-seminars-2012-to-2013.html).

There was a little disappointment over the past month, too.  Gordon did some fieldwork at another site in Aberdeenshire with a palisaded enclosure with a timber hall inside (visible in an AP).  We had thought this might be a good parallel to Rhynie - until Gordon found post-medieval pottery at the bottom of the palisade trench! So an interesting addition to post-medieval rural archaeology, but it means Rhynie still stands out as one very unique Pictish place!