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The Dig

August 2, 2013

imagesSaturday 20th July and Sunday 21st July was the two days that were arranged for the start of an exploratory dig at the “graveyard” or “monastery” site at the Dundarave road. Two archaeologists were present, one of whom came from Scotland . The day was dry and sunny and as we were under cover we felt protected from the sun. We did however have to contend with a constant attack from “clegs” or horse flies ,some people were at a disadvantage as they appeared to be a more pleasant target  than some of the “oldies”.  The dig commenced with much enthusiasm with one of the archaeologists siting and directing operations whilst we laboured but we did not mind as we were at last trying to find if the sites were as we had been led to believe. ( photos at the end of the article)  The soil was a heavy clay /loam at the top with much undergrowth which had to be removed with a strimmer. After that digging commenced and it was not long before the stones on the outer wall were exposed and had been placed there not in ancient times but more than likely during the Victorian era. The base of the trench surrounding the site was next and there was orange clay in the bottom. That was cleaned up as nothing was found and photographs taken. Whilst that was going on the other side of the protective bank was excavated and after removing two spades deep of soil blue clay was unearthed and a halt called. The reason being that no items of human habitation is known to exist below a layer of blue clay. The discovery of blue clay at such a short depth has ,we understand , set the archaeologist thinking as this does not usually appear until a couple of metres deep has been dug. Although disappointing that we did not find any indication of human habitation we now know that the site was probably a dump for stones dug up during tillage in the surrounding fields and during  the  Victorian era was converted into a “Folly”. by inhabitants in the Big House. It would also appear that it was never a graveyard –a further dig was made on the top of the mound and immediately underneath the scrub bedrock was exposed thus indicating a very shallow depth of soil not capable of being used as a graveyard. This is just one of two sites we had earmarked for investigation and we are at this present time awaiting permission to arrange the digging of the other site which we anticipate will provide better results.dig july 2013 001Getting ready for the dig.

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The site marked out with the ranging poles with the scrub  having been removed.

 

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A section of the workforce in action.

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Removing the top layer of soil.

dig july 2013 014The blue clay which was not supposed to be at such a shallow depth.

dig july 2013 019Part of the cleaned wall on the outer edge.

dig july 2013 024Digging at the top of the mound where only bedrock was found.

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Digging on the inside of the bank to expose what was NOT there.

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Bedrock found on the top .

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A selection of the happy diggers on site but with nothing to show.

 

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