Hello and welcome back to the Living Lomonds archaeology blog.
First of all, I must apologise for the extended gap in posting about the project. Happily the main excuse for this is that I have been very busy exploring the archaeology of the Lomond hills with lots of very nice people. I will now try my best to regain your interest in our little blog with a short summary about our recent community archaeology activities.
These last couple of months have been non-stop with activities for the Discover the Ancient Lomond Project. Our programme went into full-throttle this Spring with a major walkover survey for volunteers and the first in our schedule of heritage-themed guided-walks and talks. Its been a packed calendar of great days out in some beautiful local landscapes with up to 14 separate events in our April to June programme. All the events were summarised for ease of booking in our printed programme booklet. Excellently designed by Claire Hubbard of Falkland Centre for Stewardship.
Front page of the Living Lomonds archaeology programme for Spring 2014.
The back-bone of volunteering events for the start of the programme has been a major walkover survey covering all of the upland regions in the project area.
Map of the Living Lomonds Project area with the location of Spring events
This ‘Discovery Survey’ aimed to give volunteers the chance to find previously unrecorded archaeological sites, whilst at the same time learn some basic skills in how to read historic landscapes and record archaeological sites. After a quiet start due to some early poor weather, folk came out in force to take part from all over Fife, and from up the road in Dundee and Perth, from down in East Lothian, and a couple even from as far a field as southern England and Italy!
(L-R) Chris Vlasto, Bill Wardlaw, Eric Wardlaw and John Hughes.
(L-R) Joe, Chris, Kaitlynn, Aaron, Adam and Oliver.
The volunteers gave up more than 90 days of their precious spare time to help us. They were from all walks of life: from a former Royal Marine, to district careworkers, civil servants, local lads with a story to tell, sprightly pensioners, students and many more.
(L-R) Alan, Amanda, Lorna, Mike, Joe, Barry, Alison and Mindaugas.
(L-R) Callum, Sam, Greggor and Gary.
The weather was better on some days than on others as you can see!
A team of rural skills apprentices mark out a prehistoric hut circle in thick fog at East Lomond Hill.
(L-R) Marc and Jamie record an overgrown 19th-century shooting hide at Purin Hill by East Lomond.
But come rain or shine I can honestly say that I had a great time working with everyone. It can often be fun to share the experience of exploring a landscape, but I was genuinely impressed by the enthusiasm and good spirits that all our volunteers brought to each training event. AND we also found lots of interesting things. So a win-win situation all round. Well done everyone!
What did we find? Well a surprising amount of ‘new’ archaeological sites, in addition to improving the record for known ones. The new sites ranged from prehistoric burial cairns,to Iron Age (700BC-AD500) hut circles, to a possible standing stone, to pre-Improvement (?AD1500-AD1800) enclosures, to lost boundary stones. We found so much in fact that these new discoveries will need a separate post to do them proper justice. So I’ll come back to this if I may.
Bill Woods taking in the view from the summit of West Lomond Hill, the site of a massive prehistoric cairn and later stone structures.
The walkover survey is now complete, bar taking a few GPS readings at certain sites to improve the accuracy of the recorded location. We will be continuing the programme this July with more of our popular guided walks, and a new schedule of geophysics training activities and the first of our big digs, which starts this year at East Lomond Hillfort during Scottish Archaeology Month in September! So plenty to get stuck into.
Watch this space for more regular posts. Next time I’ll be turning my keyboard to muse a bit more deeply on the rich array of sites and landscapes we have in the Lomond Hills. In the meantime why not take a look at our new and really rather fine website, which has just been relaunched: www.livinglomonds.org.uk
All the best for now,
Dr Oliver JT O’Grady
Archaeologist with the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership