Friday, August 31, 2012

Touring Castle Craig & Leadketty

At the end of the week, we went to the other sites to see how they were doing.
The inside wall of the broch at Castle Craig

The beautiful surroundings at Castle Craig.

Part of an outer wall?

The inner wall again.

Leadketty. The dips in the left are the henge.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Dupplin Cross

Inside St Serf's church, spotlighted beneath a grand archway, stands the Dupplin Cross. This once stood overlooking Forteviot, and is in excellent condition. Not only that, but it is intact as one piece, which is rare. It dates from the 9th century.
As in so many churches, St Serfs was smashed up during the reformation. Amazingly, the archway above the Dupplin cross survived. This was probably original to the 12th century church.

A close-up. A man on horseback and, below, a line of soldiers.

Another close-up: hounds on the very bottom.

A popular image on Christian Pictish stones was King David - in this panel he is playing a harp.

Beasts - and a man? 

Soldiers and beasts again.

This was found in the churchyard - or below the floor of the church, or something. It is very worn, and is only a portion of a much larger stone, but indicates that there was medieval Pictish activity in this area.

Another view of the archway and the cross.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Digging in Dunning

At the end of the semester, when they were telling us about the field school, someone mentioned that if we were mad keen to excavate the medieval stuff, we should let someone know, otherwise most of us would be digging the henge monuments. I never did say anything about it, but was really hoping to get to dig in one of the medieval sites. So - I was over the moon when they posted the schedule and I was listed under Dunning! I really felt like it was a blessing. 

I think the folks at Leadketty had a fabulous time, and I'm sure I would have as well, but I was glad to be in Dunning. We were digging right up against the outside wall of the churchyard - and this was a blessing, as we were in shade most of the day. The first week was very dry and hot, and if I'd been at Leadketty I'd have had no shade at all!
My sondage, oh yeah! I found out that sondage is a fancy French word meaning wee trench within the larger trench.

All these gravestones in the churchyard at St Serfs became familiar faces..

A close-up of the above grave. Notice how the bones aren't crossed, they're just beside the skull.

Cast-iron grave marker. As you can see, nothing of the inscription remains.

One of (if not THE) oldest inscribed gravestone in the churchyard (1624)

See the moon-face in this one? Very peculiar. We all wanted to know the story behind this!

Sadly, this had broken. What a beautiful stone! Below the angel face is a plough, so the man must have been a farmer.

I loved the decoration and the face on this one.

These two were right by the door going into the church, and are medieval.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forteviot & getting settled.

For the past several years, Glasgow University has been excavating in the Strathearn Valley. Located between the Ochil hills and -- I can't remember the name of the other hills - it lies a little south of Perth. It is a lush and beautiful part of the country. 

In past years, they have been digging in the village of Forteviot, which was a medieval village rebuilt in the 1920s. Though they have yet to find the palace, it is believed to have been a royal centre in the early years of the Scottish kingdom. On the first day they took us to the village and showed us the church - as there are some Pictish stones in the porch. 

After this, we all went to Leadketty, which is a nearby farm. We worked there for a couple of hours, 'cleaning' the soil, then went back for dinner. There were three excavations going on this year:
1. Leadketty: henge monuments and a 'palisaded enclosure' were spotted on aerial photography, so this was the reason for the excavation here.
2. Castle Craig: an Iron-Age broch which had been burned, smashed and buried atop a hill had been excavated last year. They were re-opening the trenches, and digging a few new ones, in order to assess whether or not the site was suitable for a complete excavation and subsequent opening to the public.
3. St Serfs, Dunning: St Serfs is a medieval church in the village of Dunning, and there was a small excavation going on there to try to find traces of an earlier (and hopefully Pictish) church, or church boundaries, or any indication of monastic life. 

Fragments of much larger Pictish carved stones.

This one is a little harder to make out, but is a man on a horse.

In the churchyard - a grave depicting someone trade.

Our accommodation was at a boarding school (Strathallen, if you want to look it up - they have a website). The house we were in was just across the way from the dining hall, where we had breakfast and dinner every day (we took a packed lunch with us when going on site).

Bear with me...Patsy Dinner

I know some of you are quite looking forward to seeing pictures from my dig, and indeed, I am anxious to show them, but I must sneak in one more pre-dig post that I didn't get around to posting before I left. This was the Sunday after my birthday, and the day before I left for the dig. I felt very spoiled: my birthday, my party, AND a Patsy dinner! 

So enjoy. Please! 
My birthday present from Patsy: 30 chocolate bars!!!! 

Cake! Chocolate cake, polka-dot cake (it had big pink dots inside) and at the bottom a corner of the ginger cake, with lemon fondant.

Left to right: ginger, coconut (those two were my favourites!) and a caramel cake.

Alice and Rachel, looking lovely.

Patsy's girls, plus Nathan (whose mother is Patsy's best friend) playing at revolutionaries, and singing songs from "Les Miserables"

Sunday, August 5, 2012


So, last night I had a birthday party! After my birthday, I sort-of forgot that I had a party as well. It was *so* fabulous! We had jolly time talking and laughing, and we played consequences! (by the way, I dyed me hair!)

Ginger Mairi!

The GORGEOUS Malteser cake that Josephine made for me. It looks professional!

Lighting candles!

Left to right: Victoria, Alice, Kirsty, Shona, Josephine & Rachel (and me in front!)

Same arrangement, plus the Hicks, minus Shona.

Dinner at the Chip

As we hadn't eaten enough already, for dinner Rachel & I went to The Ubiquitous Chip (where I work)! The food was really quite delicious - my main course was halibut with a savoury chocolate sauce! Lovely!

A wee sample: beet root & coconut soup!

Rachel & I got the same starter: ravioli with asparagus & a quail egg inside.

Rachel's main course.

Halibut with chocolate sauce!

Their famous oatmeal ice cream!

My birthday cupcake: lavender lemon.