February 2006 - A new season of fieldwork beckons at the High Pasture’s site

Posted by steven on 09/02/2006 at 05:02 PM

We are already nearing the middle of February and a new season of fieldwork draws closer at the High Pasture’s site. Read on for the first news website entry of 2006, which gives details of the fieldwork proposed for 2006 and entries relating to the specialists reports of analysis conducted on archaeological material recovered from the site in 2005....

As February draws on, a new archaeological fieldwork season approaches at the High Pasture’s site. Steven and Martin are busy finishing work on the 2005 Data Structure Report, while specialists working on materials recovered from the site in 2005 are completing their analysis and sending us their reports. We have alreay received a report from Carrie Drew at the University of Durham on the animal bone assemblage recovered from Bone Passage, which comprised her MA Dissertation. Laura Sinfield (University of Edinburgh) has also sent us an interim report on the human remains recovered from the blocked stairwell, which we hope to open up this year.

Digital image taken yesterday (8th February) looking over the High Pasture’s site to the Coille Gaireallach woodlands and Cill Chriosd. Trench 2, which was excavated last year, lies below the heavy-duty tarpualin sheets that are supported by galvanised scaffold poles

The weather has been rather mixed this winter with little snow, but some cold, dry and frosty days. However, we have had our fair share of strong winds and heavy rain, which caused a few problems at the site - especially to the light-weight tarpualin sheets we had in place at the end of last year. Therefore, with financial assistance from Historic Scotland we have been able to purchase two heavy gauge tarpaulin sheets, which we anchored down to galvanised scaffold poles. This has created a more sturdy structure over Trench 2, preventing the action of wind, rain and frost affecting the archaeological deposits. Two additional sheets are on order and these will serve as covers for the new excavations in 2006, which we hope to start sometime around early May.

Fieldwork in 2006 will include survey and excavation as follows:

1. Undertake a detailed topographical survey of the wider archaeological landscape surrounding the High Pasture’s site, including a contour survey of the core of the site.

2. Carry out a fine resolution geophysical survey of the landscape surrounding the core of the site using magnetometry and resistivity, but also including survey of out-lying structures and features of interest. In particular, we hope to identify potential areas of industrial activity at the site, especially relating to hearths and areas where metalworking may have taken place in the past.

3. Excavations will continue in the blocked stairwell, with the aim of linking this with the natural cave passage below. This will comprise a delicate and time-consuming piece of work and we will be intensively investigating the deposits comprising the fill of the stairwell.

4. The main trench to be opened this year for excavation will be centred on the ‘roundhouse’, to investigate its function and potential relationship to the entrance to the cave.

5. Excavations will continue in Trench 6, which is located in the cave (Bone Passage). This will be investigated at the same time as we make the proposed breakthrough from the stairwell, so we can analyse the relationship between the archaeological deposits at the interface between stairwell and cave passage. This will be crucial in helping us to determine modes of deposition within these two features.

6. We also hope to undertake trial excavation of potential features identified through the geophysical survey.

7. Post-excavation analysis of material recovered from the site in 2005 will continue, while on-site sampling will be undertaken with respect to micromorphology and pollen analysis. The micromorphology, especially thin-section analysis undertaken at the University of Stirling, will hopefully reveal the origins and content of the complex sequence of deposits exposed in Trenches 2 and 6. A range of samples have already been taken from these sediments to investigate potential pollen survival. This work is being conducted by Sandra Pratt at the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh.

8. Carrie Drew (University of Durham) will continue with the analysis of animal bone from the site, and will be looking in detail at the assemblage of pig bones with regards to animal husbandry practices including diet.

The 2006 fieldwork season will be crucial in taking us forward with the project and should hopefully provide more answers to the myriad of questions posed by work at the site in 2004/05. Finally, with financial assistance from the Highland 2007 Fund, we will be producing a full-colour leaflet including details of work at the site and forthcoming events. During Highland Archaeology Fortnight in October 2006, we will host the first of three visits from John and Val Lord. Many will know of John and Val and their excellent demonstrations of prehistoric skills, especially John’s superb flint-knapping and bone/antler-working skills. These events will also posted on the website, so please keep visiting to keep up with the latest news.

Next entry: 22 March 2006 - Fieldwork starts at the High Pasture's site

Previous entry: 2005 fieldwork season ends at the High Pasture's site

Posted by on 25/02/2006 at 08:06 PM

It’s wonderful reading the updates.  I cannot wait to visit!
Regards always
Amanda cool smile

Posted by on 14/02/2006 at 01:45 PM

Alf, good to hear that you are logging on once again and following progress here at High Pasture. Regards, Martin smile

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