Graveyard Dig Day 39

I’m very, very late posting this entry. Sorry ­čÖü

It is at least still just August!

First day working in Dunfermline Abbey Graveyard for a while. We had a really good turn out with Anna, Archie, Brodie, Emily, Keziah, Lee, Michal, Nicoleta and Olivia all working hard.

We have yet another gravestone to investigate, very awkwardly positioned and with a curb, just to make it even more problematic, as you can see below. Archie excavated part of what might have been a coffin handle. Once we have been able to record this stone we will be able to start shunting the fence along towards fresh, unexcavated ground.

Exposing a curb stone as only YC members can
Exposing a curb stone as only YC members can

Rob devoted himself to the passing on of bone knowledge to a much, much younger generation. There was much sorting and identification of fragments of human bone.

The oracle speaketh unto his acolytes
The oracle speaketh unto his disciples
Identification and sorting of bones
Identification and sorting of bones

As usual, sieving of spoil returned a good haul of finds missed during excavation, including bone and clay tobacco pipe fragments.

A pair of sievers sieving
A pair of sievers sieving

Henry took charge of excavating the latest test trench, which is producing a familiar mix of rubbly soil with broken glass, pottery and bone fragments. We are still to high to see if we will come down onto the thick rubble that lies to the south and west of the pit.

Work proceeding in a new test pit
Work proceeding in a new test pit

Graveyard Dig, another day …

On Saturday a small band of leaders, dads and YAC members met up in the Abbey Graveyard for a bit of a tidy up.

The grass is cut
Getting to grips with shears that are too long and the wrong tool for the job. Fun though?
Grass nil, Charlotte 1
Grass nil, Charlotte 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been working in this corner for nearly a year now; this was our 39th session. The grass hasn’t been cut, weeds have not been pulled and after a period of warmth and rain, both are taking full advantage and growing as fast as they can. Well, we taught mother nature a lesson she’ll soon forget, cutting and pulling away around the trenches, in the trenches, round the gravestone, round and on the spoil heaps. The site is pretty much almost nearly tidy now.

We also took the opportunity to begin backfilling trenches that we have finished working in. The gravestones pinned down by spider-like tree roots have been allowed to resume their slumber under the earth, presumably until the trees are cut or fall, or one of our members realises they lost their smart phone on Saturday.

The main DHCP trench and weird roots
Aggressive protective, or roots that are just there?

 

Sieving and backfilling
The sievers recovered small bones, burnt coal and a nice piece of clay tobacco pipe bowl.

Sieving proved productive and therapeutic. We now have more slightly bone, burnt coal and pottery, including another fragment of clay tobacco pipe, to record.

At rest after trimming the long grass around the gravestones.
At rest after trimming the long grass around the gravestones.

There was even a bit of time for passing on the ancient and venerable art of daisy-chain making and wearing.

Passing on the art of making daisy-chains
An aspect of ancient material culture that survives as an action passed on between generations,  leaving no physical trace.
Daisy-chain deployed
Daisy-chain deployed