The Society is pleased to announce the publication of three new Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports, available now at the Archaeology Data Service.
The latest papers to be added to our Open Access collection of significant excavation reports and large-scale surveys present research from the site of a medieval farmstead discovered in Ayrshire; an area in the Highlands which saw settlement from the Middle Bronze Age to the early medieval period; and the excavation of an early modern tenement at Advocate’s Close in the centre of Edinburgh. To read the abstracts and access the papers, please see the details below.
SAIR 65 A Medieval Farmstead at Laigh Newton North-West, East Ayrshire
Excavations at Laigh Newton North-West Ayrshire in advance of quarrying revealed a rare late medieval farmstead consisting of a palisaded enclosure, four sunken stone- and turf-built buildings, one of which may be a charcoal kiln, two possible timber-built structures and drainage ditches. The pottery and radiocarbon dates indicate that the site was occupied in the 14th–15th centuries. It is thought that this site belonged to the farm of Newton, which was first documented in the late 14th century within the parish of Galston. At that time the parish of Galston belonged to the Lockhart family. The site probably went out of use in the 16th or 17th century as a result of a change of ownership and the increased commercialisation of farming practice. As a result the structures were demolished or allowed to decay, the ditches were filled in and the land turned over to arable.
SAIR 66 Unenclosed Prehistoric Settlement and Early Medieval Pits at Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, Highlands
The excavation of a greenfield development at the Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, Moray has revealed the remains of four episodes of heavily truncated settlement activity on a gravel terrace above the River Spey. In the Middle Bronze Age there was pit-digging activity, followed by a Late Bronze Age settlement consisting of at least two, and probably four, post-ring roundhouses and a four-poster. A single ring-ditch roundhouse represents Middle Iron Age settlement, and activity in the ninth to twelfth centuries ad is represented by a number of large rubbish disposal pits possibly associated with two post-ring roundhouses. A small assemblage of macroplant, charcoal and burnt bone was recovered, as well as a small amount of prehistoric pottery, a few coarse stone artefacts and metalworking residues.
SAIR 67 Where There’s Muck There’s Money: The Excavation of Medieval and Post-Medieval Middens and Associated Tenement at Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh
In 2012 excavation works undertaken along the western frontage of Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh revealed the remains of a 16th-century tenement, owned in turn by the Cants, Hamiltons and Raes, all burgesses or merchants of the city. The tenement remains consisted of wall foundations, cellar floor surfaces and other substantial architectural features including a turnpike stair and corbelled roof. The tenement was demolished and back-filled with rubble during the late 19th century, after which it was replaced by a formal, terraced garden. The excavations within this area revealed a series of associated midden deposits, pits and structural features located to the immediate rear of the tenement. These deposits have provided a stratified sequence of occupation ranging from the initial settlement of Edinburgh’s Old Town in the 12th/13th century to the clearing and landscaping of the tenement area in the late 19th century. A large artefactual assemblage was recovered from the midden deposits, including important animal and fish bone, glass, clay pipe, tile and ceramic evidence. The ceramic assemblage included substantial amounts of imported material from England and the Continent. The consumption patterns revealed by the artefactual and ecofactual evidence appear to directly reflect the changing fortunes of post-medieval Edinburgh. The high status of many of the Close’s inhabitants is illustrated throughout the expansion of the 16th and 17th centuries, as is the decline undergone during the later 17th and early 18th centuries. The stratified midden deposits at Advocate’s Close reveal the changing attitudes of the Old Town inhabitants towards the issue of midden management and general waste disposal, which in turn reflects the development and growth taking place in Edinburgh during the late 16th to 19th centuries. During this period the denizens of Edinburgh moved from pursuing a peri-urban system of agriculture, in which midden material was stored, to one in which a decreasing involvement with agriculture led to a shift in favour of rapid disposal.
Remember, all SAIR papers are published Open Access and are freely available to read at ADS! You can see the full list of previous publications here.
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