Excavation

Excavation at Saline Graveyard April 2015
Saline Graveyard April 2015 Excavation

From the very beginning, in 1971, the Society carried out excavations at Fast Castle in Berwickshire. As work on the site was restricted to Sundays, with only occasional longer periods, these excavations continued until 1986. A full report was published in 2001. In 2002 the Society was delighted to be presented with the Pitt Rivers Award, one of the biennial British Archaeological Awards, in respect of this publication.

Excavation Saline Graveyard
Excavation Saline Graveyard April 2015

Since 1976, the Society has carried out excavations on several sites at Cramond, under the auspices of the City of Edinburgh Council. Between 1988 and 2001 members undertook an assessment of the area between Cramond Roman fort and its bathhouse where evidence was found of Mesolithic activity of 8500BC – the earliest settlement site in Scotland – and traces of the former village of Nether Cramond, demolished in 1826. The excavation phase has been completed, and post-excavation work is now under way. In 1987-88 EAFS carried out a field survey and trial excavation at Arniston Estate, near Gorebridge, by kind permission of the owner.

Cramond excavation team in trench
Cramond excavation team

The Society has completed three seasons of ground resistance survey and excavation at Castlehill, Penicuik, on the estate of Sir Robert Clerk, from 2003 to 2005. The site is recorded in the Old Statistical Account and was suggested to be an Iron Age fort. Paved areas were uncovered in their 2004 excavations, but it was not until 2005 that stone tools were found, confirming the Iron Age dating of the site. Excavation in the two existing trenches adjacent to the ‘castle’ will continue in 2006 and the south-western bank and ditch of this now presumed promontory fort will be sectioned.

As the reputation and skills of Society members have broadened, invitations to participate in several professional excavations have been received, together with requests to perform geophysical surveys. The Society has provided volunteers on such sites as the Roman bath-house at Cramond; High Street, Edinburgh; Throsk (pottery and possible kiln site); Elginhaugh Roman fort; the French fort at Eyemouth; High Street, Linlithgow; Inveresk, various sites around Traprain Law; an early Christian and medieval cemetery at Auldhame near North Berwick and has an annual invitation to take part in the excavation of Roman sites connected with the Antonine Wall in the Falkirk District.

Excavation underway at Castlehill, Penicuik
Excavation underway at Castlehill, Penicuik

The Society has also recently organised excavations on Corstorphine Hill and at Saline in Fife where they were searching for the site of the old church within the graveyard.