The Great Big History Weekend – Sunday 2nd April

Another day, another load of great big history to share with visitors to Stirling Castle. Once again YAC members and parents came to help their beloved leaders to spread the archaeological word. Kathryn, Lee and Olivia all did sterling work (sorry).

Digging for very old rubbish
Digging for very old rubbish

It was a really hectic day; much busier than Saturday. We really could have done with more space and a few more boxes of archaeological goodness for folk to poke about in.

By 16:00 we had been visited by about 300 people, making the total for the two days just a little over 500!

May I have some more sword please sir?
May I have some more sword please sir?

Today people were trying on the chainmail, attempting to lift the replica Bruce sword and excavating and then un-excavating our medieval bones and pottery bits.

Lots of young folk were collecting stickers for their Heritage Hero passports. They had to complete four activities, including an archaeological dig, to be awarded a Heritage Hero certificate. The folk on the Archaeology Scotland stand provided us with stickers to hand out, and we had pretty much run out by the end of the day. It was a great idea and really encouraged families to try out a range of activities.

Young certificated heroes!
Young certificated heroes!
Scotland's Urban Past were just next door
Scotland’s Urban Past were just next door
One size chainmail, guaranteed to fit
One size chainmail, guaranteed to fit
Knight knight
Knight knight
Half way through a makeover
Half way through a makeover
Digging for very old rubbish
Digging for very old rubbish
YAC members at work
YAC members at work
Anonymous knight
Anonymous knight
On the verge of major archaeological discoveries
On the verge of major archaeological discoveries

We are Heritage Heroes

On Saturday 21st January Kathryn, Mark and Olivia represented Dunfermline YAC at the official launch of Archaeology Scotland’s Heritage Hero award scheme at the amazing Argyll’s Lodging just below Stirling Castle.

The posh entrance to Argyll's Lodging
The posh entrance to Argyll’s Lodging

Kathryn and Olivia took the chance to explore the house. They best remember the barrel-vaulted kitchen, with its massive fire-place. It had been rebuilt of stone in the 16th century after the original, wooden kitchen had burnt to the ground. It is kitted out with replica jugs and bowls and other kitchen equipment to give an idea of what it had looked like in the past. Olivia was disappointed not to be able to pick up the knives that had been glued to the chopping boards. Kathryn, on the other hand, was quite glad.

Model of Argyll's Lodging next to Stirling Castle
Model of Argyll’s Lodging next to Stirling Castle

There were people from all over Scotland at the launch who had helped to pilot the awards. Some folk talked about the projects they had run. They included a cool project in Kilmarnock. Seven school children had researched the lives of  men from the local railway-works who had fought in World War 1. The research was used in museum displays and even to produce a book.

Slide showing the location of all the Heritage Hero Pilot Projects across Scotland
Slide showing the location of all the Heritage Hero Pilot Projects across Scotland
Mark talking about the YAC graveyard project at the launch
Mark talking about the YAC graveyard project at the launch

Mark talked a bit about the Dunfermline Abbey graveyard project and a school project he had helped with at a local primary school. Olivia had participated in both projects. She talked about how she had come to join YAC as a result of getting  involved with the school project. Olivia was cheered when we realised that she is probably the first person in the world to get two Heritage Hero awards.

Olivia talking about the Heritage Hero projects she was involved with
Olivia talking about the Heritage Hero projects she was involved with

Kathryn and Olivia rounded things off by first cutting and then eating large amounts  a celebration cake. Olivia found the fondant covering a little too sweet and thick, but enjoyed the sponge. Kathryn just ate and enjoyed it. Mark, inconsiderately, spent so much time, gassing that Kathryn and Olivia had to drag him off without even trying the cake. What a shame.

Kathryn and Olivia cutting the Heritage Hero celebration cake
Kathryn and Olivia cutting the Heritage Hero celebration cake.

However, we had good soup in the castle café, enjoyed the fog and had a look round the gift shop. Olivia bought postcards and soap for her mum while Kathryn bought a fancy, medieval catapult, pencil sharpener so she can ping things at her siblings. It works well. Mark wasn’t allowed to buy anything.

Stirling Castle in the fog
Stirling Castle in the fog
Olivia and Mark turning their backs on Kathryn
Olivia and Mark turning their backs on Kathryn

Graveyard Dig – Days 20 to 22 & Archaeology Scotland Hits Town

It seems like a long time ago now, but between the 21st and 23rd of October Dunfermline YAC was incredibly busy: digging in the graveyard, receiving awards and helping out at Archaeology Scotland‘s AGM in Dunfermline.

Graveyard Dig – Day 20

Alexander, Caelan, Erin and Michal joined us for a couple of hours working on the dig today. It was pretty miserable weather and a session that demonstrated well that archaeology isn’t all fun! After a good half an hour of clearing fallen leaves, we finally got down to the exciting task of cleaning rubble for recording, before we dig through it. We also probed on the other, eastern side of the low markers that we are excavating against. There is definitely stone close to the surface, but we are guessing that it is simply more rubble rather than gravestones. We hope that there may be older gravestones below the rubble.

Excavating rubble can be so satisfying
Excavating rubble can be so satisfying
Probing for sunken gravestones
Probing for sunken gravestones

Graveyard Dig – Day 21 & Archaeology Scotland AGM

A long, busy and rather proud day; as most Dunfermline YAC members were presented with their well-earned Heritage Hero awards at the AGM. After a morning indoors of talks, activities and a rather nice lunch, we headed down to the graveyard to do some work and also share the dig with Archaeology Scotland members on a wee tour of Dunfermline.

Presentation being watched by YAC member
Presentation being watched. Any YAC members in the photo do you think?
An award in the act of being transferred
An award in the act of being transferred (photo Alex Wood)
Awards having been received
Awards having been received, not in order of height (photo Alex Wood)

From the perspective of the dig we actually got quite a bit done: planning, opening up a new rubble trench, talking to visitors (including AGM attendees) and getting cold. A good day I think.

Archeology Scotland members watch YAC in captivity
Archeology Scotland members watch YAC in captivity (photo Alex Wood)
Plane table fun in the graveyard
Plane table fun in the graveyard (photo Alex Wood)
Is this a thing which we see before us?
Is this a thing which we see before us? (photo Alex Wood)
There's a worm in my bucket
There’s a worm in my bucket (photo Alex Wood)

Graveyard Dig – Day 22

Back to normal this afternoon. More leaf clearing followed by planning rubble, finding rubble, cleaning rubble, digging rubble and playing with the mud. I think the latter activity was enjoyed the most.

Exposing some gravestone edge
Exposing some gravestone edge
Our puddle
Our puddle
Digging in the cold
Digging in the cold
Planning rubble
Planning rubble