Kirkwall Garden Dig 2016

Get Involved in the Kirkwall Garden Dig. 4th-8th August 2016 in Kirkwall Town Centre.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute are teaming up with Scotland’s Urban Past to bring together an archaeological extravanganza to Kirkwall Town Centre.

  • 6 garden digs in Kirkwall Town Centre
  • Visit one of the digs in the BBC Radio Orkney Garden
  • Take part in community archaeology workshops in the town centre and learn excavation and building archaeology skills
  • Become an’Urban Detective’ and contribute to the nationwide archaeological record with the Scotlands’s Urban Past team
  • All welcome, free event, accompanied children also welcome to take part

The Kirkwall Garden Dig project is part of The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme ‘Discover Hidden Kirkwall’. This community archaeology initiative has already uncovered parts of the medieval shoreline of the town in a previous excavation held in May 2016.

Garden Dig 2016 Post456

The Kirkwall Garden Dig 2016 will increase our knowledge of the rich heritage present in the town by helping local residents dig five test trenches in their garden and get hands on with history in data gathering workshops for local volunteers.

Local archaeology volunteers will be trained to investigate and record Kirkwall’s history as ‘Urban Detectives’ by Scotland’s Urban Past – a nationwide community engagement project from Historic Environment Scotland and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The sheme invites local people to contribute to Canmore, the national record of architecture, archaeology and industry and one one Scotland’s national collections.

Dan Lee, Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist, says, ” The Archaeology Institute are thrilled to be teaming up with the Scotland’s Urban Past team to bring an extravaganza of archaeology to Kirkwall. It’s great to offer training in both archaeological excavation and building survey and we hope that Kirkwall residents will get involved.”

Chiara Ronchini, Project Manager Scotland’s Urban Past, adds,”During the Kirkwall Garden Dig, we’ll be running free training sessions to members of the public to give them the skills to record the history on thier doorstep. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the built environment of Kirkwall through observation and interpretation of its buildings. We encourage volunteers to join our team and become Urban Detectives, investigating and recording Kirkwall’s unique heritage.

Participants will learn how to recognise and identify architectural features and to record them for posterity and submit their findings for inclusion in Canmore.

While most of the garden digs themselves will be on private land and inaccessible to the public, Kirkwall’s residents and visitors are invited to see an archaeology dig in action at the BBC Radio Orkney Garden. This excavation will be open to the public from 9.30am to 5.00pm on the 4th August to 8th August 2016. Drop-in training sessions for ‘Urban Detective’ volunteers will run from 10.00am to 12.00pm on Friday 5th, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August.

The research questions which the Garden Dig hopes to address include the following:

  1. What is the location, character and depth of the former shoreline and piers to the west of the town centre (between Broad Street and Junction Road)?
  2. Is there any evidence for the former occupation, land-use and activities within the historic core of Kirkwall?
  3. What is the nature, date and potential of any such archaeological evidence?
  4. What is the nature of the material used in the process of land reclamation along the shoreline in the Post-medieval Period?
  5. What is the character and history of the built heritage surrounding each test pit site?

To find out more or volunteer to become an ‘Urban Detective’ email daniel.lee@uhi.ac.uk or ring 01856 569225.

To find out more about Scotland’s Urban Past visit: http://scotlandsurbanpast.org.uk


 

The Kirkwall Garden Dig is supported by:

Kirkwall Garden Dig 2016

THI Dig 17-5-16 015

If you live in Kirkwall Town Centre (Victoria Street, Albert Street, Bridge Street) then you could be part of an exciting archaeology project being held on 5th, 6th and 7th August 2016.

We need 5 households to dig a test pit in their garden in Kirkwall town centre in August.

Following the success of the geophysics and excavation in the museum and RBS Bank garden during which pupils from Kirkwall Grammar School discovered the remains of the medieval shoreline, we want to find out the story behind other areas in the town centre.

We are looking for 5 town centre house gardens in the Victora Street, Albert Street and Bridge Street area in which your household, with help from archaeologists, can dig a small 1m by 1m archeology test pit. The soil will be sieved for finds and all soil and turf will be put back as found afterwards.

If you live in Kirkwall Town Centre then now is your chance to get involved in an exciting archaeological dig. Who knows what we will find?

Kirkwall Garden Dig 2016 info sheet V1 210616-page-001


To get involved ring 01856 569225 or e-mail studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk

Day 2 & 3 Kirkwall Dig.

 

Discovering Hidden Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme. Excavation in the RBS Garden.

Day 1 in the classroom. Day 2 & 3 in the rain.

On Monday 16th May, Dan Lee (Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist)and Sean Page (Marketing Officer) spent a preparation day at Kirkwall Grammar School involving pupils from S3 history and geography classes in a decision making project. We wanted to include them in the archaeological process as a whole so we devised a learning exercise in which we created a decision making lesson that asked the question…..Where shall we put the trench?

To answer the question we asked the pupils to decide and back up their decision with reasons. We provided them with maps from 1827, 1882, aerial photographs, 19th century photographs of the area and geophysics results. They then collectively had to decide where the trench was going to be located on the following day.

RBS Geophys
Geophysics of the RBS garden. Pupils had to decide where to dig.

The preparation day itself also placed the whole project into context and tied it into the work that the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative was undertaking in the town. We asked what is an archaeologist (involving various pictures of various people doing various things), what is archaeology and how is it different to history, what do archaeologist do, how do you become an archaeologist and touched on the transferable skills that an archaeologist develops. In effect we looked at how to develop a career in archaeology; something which was attractive to many pupils.

The preparation day was followed by two days in the field. It rained on the first day and drizzled on the second so they fully appreciated the benefit of correct clothing! Pupils undertook three activities throughout the whole day. These activities included surveying using a Leica TCR 1205+R400 Total Station Theodolite (TST) ,mapping, historical town survey and of course taking part in the excavation, sieving and finds washing in the RBS garden. It was a real hands on archaeological experience !

The objectives of the archaeology project were to try and answer these questions:

  1. What is the location, character and depth of the former shoreline and piers to the west of the town centre of Kirkwall (between Broad Street and Junction Road)
  2. Is there any evidence for the former layout of the museum gardens ?
  3. Do remains of the range of buildings depicted on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map survive below ground level. What is the character and depth of these remains where they do survive?

It is still a little early in the project to answer all of these questions, but we can say that the pupils found a feature which looks at this stage like a wall. Could it be part of the old shoreline wall? A garden feature ? A roadway? Well at this stage it is very hard to tell, but at the end of day 3 the team had excavated three courses of stone…so it looks like a wall. Finds included a sharpening stone, possible 17th Century ceramics, a stem and base from an 18th century wine glass, animal bones and a few pieces of flint (maybe washed down from the site of the Broch behind the site ??.

The excavation will be open another three days so we should be able to answer some of our questions more fully. However today (Thursday 19th May) we will be welcoming pupils from Glaitness Primary School….so who knows what we will find !

First dig in Kirkwall since 1978 starts today

Discovering Hidden Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme.

Excavation in RBS Garden

Archaeologists from The University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team will be commencing the excavation today; the first research – led excavations in the town since 1978. The site in the RBS Bank gardens will open from 9:30am to 4:30pm each day from Monday 16th May until Saturday 20th May and visitors are welcome to visit and talk to the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team.

As part of the community programme we will be training volunteers and involving the local schools in the dig itself, mapping in the Museum Gardens and historical mapping in the town itself – piecing together the story of Kirkwall.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week KGS pupils are involved in three studies:

  1. Excavation, sieving and finds washing in the RBS gardens.
  2. Geophysics, surveying and mapping in the Museum Gardens
  3. Historical mapping in the town itself

These archaeological investigations will build on the geophysics survey completed two weeks ago and will help us discover answers to the questions

  1. What is the location, character and depth of the former shoreline and piers to the west of the town centre of Kirkwall (between Broad Street and Junction Road)
  2. Is there any evidence for the former layout of the museum gardens ?
  3. Do remains of the range of buildings depicted on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map in the southern part of the museum gardens survive below ground level. What is the character and depth of these remains where they do survive?

Pupils from Glaitness School will also be on site on Thursday 19th May from 10.30 until 12.30pm to help us in the dig.

 

Volunteer Training Excavation Opportunity

Discovering Hidden Kirkwall.

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeology Programme.

Excavation in RBS Garden

Phase One of the project involved volunteers receiving training in the use of geophysical survey techniques including Magnetometry, Earth Resistance and Ground Penetrating Radar in Tankerness House and the Royal Bank of Scotland Gardens in Kirkwall Town Centre. The results were then analysed by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team, to provide a targeted area for the phase two excavation.

The initial geophysiscs results show two linear features lying from 50cm to 1 metre beneath present ground level. Early analysis suggests they could represent walls, a spread of stones and a possible break of slope indicating the old medieval shoreline.

The second stage will commence on Monday 16th May and continue until Monday 23rd May and will give volunteers an opportunity to gain excavation, surveying and mapping skills. The main dig will involve excavating small trenches in the RBS gardens and will in effect be the first archaeological dig in the town since 1978. The project has been expanded to include pupils from Kirkwall Grammar school will also join the excavation team from The Archaeology Institute on the 17th and 18th May where they will be involved in the dig itself, sieving, mapping, further geophysics and historic building recording in the town centre.

Dan Lee (Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist) adds, “We are really excited about the geophysics results and with the help of the local community and pupils from Kirkwall Grammar School we hope to answer some of the questions concerning the make-up of the old shoreline infill.”

If you wish to join this archaeological investigation and receive training in basic archaeological techniques then please contact Dan Lee Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist on Daniel.Lee@uhi.ac.uk. No experience is necessary and there is no charge! The (KTHI) programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland & Orkney Islands Council and runs until 2019.

Finding the Medieval Shoreline in Kirkwall

The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative Archaeological Programme. Discovering Hidden Kirkwall. Phase Two.

First Archaeological Excavation in Kirkwall Town Centre since 1978.

`Discovering Hidden Kirkwall’ is part of The Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative (KTHI) Archaeological Programme. Phase One of the project involved volunteers receiving training in the use of geophysical survey techniques including Magnetometry, Earth Resistance and Ground Penetrating Radar in Tankerness House and the Royal Bank of Scotland Gardens in Kirkwall Town Centre. The results were then analysed by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute team, to provide a targeted area for the phase two excavation.

The initial geophysiscs results show two linear features lying from 50cm to 1 metre beneath present ground level. Early analysis suggests they could represent walls, a spread of stones and a possible break of slope indicating the old medieval shoreline.

The second stage will commence on Monday 16th May and continue until Monday 23rd May and will give volunteers an opportunity to gain excavation, surveying and mapping skills. The main dig will involve excavating small trenches in the RBS gardens and will in effect be the first archaeological dig in the town since 1978. The project has been expanded to include pupils from Kirkwall Grammar school will also join the excavation team from The Archaeology Institute on the 17th and 18th May where they will be involved in the dig itself, sieving, mapping, further geophysics and historic building recording in the town centre.

Dan Lee (Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist) adds, “We are really excited about the geophysics results and with the help of the local community and pupils from Kirkwall Grammar School we hope to answer some of the questions concerning the make-up of the old shoreline infill.”

If you wish to join this archaeological investigation and receive training in basic archaeological techniques then please contact Dan Lee Lifelong Learning and Outreach Archaeologist on Daniel.Lee@uhi.ac.uk. No experience is necessary and there is no charge! The (KTHI) programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland & Orkney Islands Council and runs until 2019.