Rhynie, Aberdeenshire

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

Monday, 28 August 2017

A bit of 'Rhynie Curse' and a great big ditch

All trenches continue with great gusto despite a visit from the 'Rhynie Curse' which this year has shown itself in:
1 case of 'poison finger'
1 incident of Land Rover grounding
1 incident of said Land Rover bursting a tire
1 case of chicken pox
many incidents of sore muscles and for some reason sore heids amongst some of the team...

Who knew you could drink a G&T from an amphora?!?

Updates from the hillforts are pending as I await some photographs and text from the teams up there (they aren't stuck up there, just too exhausted to blog).

By the Craw Stane things are moving well.

A selection of finds - look at that sherd of amphora - as big as yer face!

We continue to find evidence of non-ferrous metalworking and the high-life led by the inhabitants.  Some of the most exciting finds this year are 3 tiny sherds of glass, which are from imported Continental drinking vessels.  We are also continuing to find sherds of a blackish pottery, probably hand-made; we found a few fragments of this last year, too.  This pottery could be very important as traditionally the Picts are aceramic (despite knowing all the technology perfectly well as evidenced by the ceramic crucible sherds).

We've spend the last few days concentrating on the story of the outer ditch - and what a ditch it is!

Ditch fills looking fab.
We still have not definitively bottomed the outer ditch (but are close we think).  We are stopping now to do some recording to ensure the safety of the team and to enable us to remove at least the upper layers of the baulk soon.  We have what looks like a cut (possibly for a drain as there was stone as a type of potential 'lining,' but as the soil drains very well here this seems a little unnecessary even in the ditch).  This is at the bottom of the ditch and potentially represents a recutting event, which we should be able to confirm once we can continue excavating down in more safety.

Other exposed areas of the ditch are still in middle fill levels, but we are seeing some features including a few shallow pits of unknown purpose.  The larger pit we suspect might be an event related to digging out sand, perhaps for metalworking-related activities.  We are in the final week now.  Weather will hopefully hold out, although the wind is picking up and so is the sand down at the Craw Stane trench (next stop for the 'curse' is probably conjunctivitis...).  I might be a bit sad to leave my office (below) - but perhaps I can set up a similar situation at Chester inside my own office.

A bru and a bucket - what more does an office need?

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