Rhynie, Aberdeenshire

Rhynie, Aberdeenshire
The Craw Stane with Tap o'Noth hillfort in the background (Photo courtesy of Cathy MacIver).

Friday, 11 October 2013

Cist... the movie!

video
 
 
It's amazing what you can do with a lot of photographs, computer software and an Icelandic gift for technology.  Oskar has worked his magic and created a 3D model of our 2013 cist grave from the Beverly field.  You will need windows media player to look at it -  It is a little blurry if you maximise the screen (not Oskar's technical difficulties, but mine in trying to adapt it for a web format).  But we think it looks pretty cool and we hop you doo, too.  Enjoy!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Fame update... already!

Well, Gordon's been busy on the phone all day after the press release went out.  In addition to Scotland on Sunday:




Now... will the 'southern' press pick it up? The gauntlet is thrown!

Rhynie Fame!

Here we are in Scotland on Sunday!
http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/remains-of-pictish-royalty-found-in-aberdeenshire-1-3082965

I wonder where we can get the biggest spread.... we sent them lots of pictures...

Eyes on the press...

Keep your eyes peeled for press releases in local, national and international papers! We'll try to post some links about where we are appearing when we get the news.
Just got a great present through the post - a Rhynie Running Man badge - makes me think I should get my brother to run his next marathon as Rhynie Man rather than Forrest Gump (don't ask....)
Thank you to Aberdeen Art Gallery!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Public Events on the way...

Our diaries are already filling up.

Rhynie will feature in a new exhibit at the Marischal Museum at Aberdeen University this autumn and we'll post details of opening dates, etc. soon.

We're already being booked up for public talks, too.  The appetite in 'the south' for all things Pictish grows - with Meggen down in Cardiff in January 2014 and speaking at the Chester Literature Festival in October 2013.

We've been working on a few papers and I've been getting nostalgic - so thought I'd post an image from when it all began - our 2005 geophysics up by the Craw Stane. 

 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Archive reports updated

Slowly but surely we are getting to grips with all the paperwork, photographs and drawings from the 2013 excavations.  The first thing we'll do is create a summary document called a 'Data Structure Report'.  You can see two of our previous DSR documents up on our webpage now - check out the 'About REAP' page on the blog (look right!).   We now have both 2011 and 2012 up. (They are what we call interim reports and can be a bit heavy on the data side of things - for die-hards only!) We'll work on some more user-friendly text for the website, too.

We've also recently heard of a new initiative by the Huntly Writers group - apparently the project inspired some creative juices and poems and  stories are being written (hopefully not about bad dancing...).  We're looking forward to reading some of them and maybe getting to post up one or two (or a link). 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Over 3000 hits!

Both Gordon and I are a little bit addicted to the 'stats' function on our blog website - we are so pleased at the interest in the site and our activities.  Over the 2 weeks of digging and blogging, we have had over 3000 views of the website!!  Most of our hits are from the UK with the USA coming in at 2nd place - but we also have viewers in Russia, Japan, Iceland, Sweden... the list goes on and on!

The trowel is packed away (for now...)

We departed site on Sunday a little later than planned (those last minute jobs of drawing and recording always seem to take a lot longer than you think!).  I pulled into the drive in Chester just after midnight on Monday morning. 

Now we begin the process of putting all the pieces of our excavation work together to create the story of what we think was going on in the field.  Scanning and digitising drawings, sorting through the context sheets, doing some research on our finds - it should all come together in the next month or so and we'll have our 'Data Structure Report' ready.  We are hoping to revamp our website a bit in the coming months, too, so that there will be more information about the project, some more pictures and for those interested in the technical side of things, online versions of our interim reports. 

In the meantime we have great memories (mostly documented by Hayley and her great photos on the Rhynie Woman facebook page!) of our two weeks in Rhynie and the fantastic enthusiasm and energy of everyone in the village and our other visitors. We'll keep trying to post when we get some new information or update the site. Thank you Rhynie!

Dancing in the street at Rhynie - that was one long strip the willow line! I'm still exhausted!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The last full day of work.

There was a big to-do list at the start of the day, but we have made good progress and feel we'll be ready to close down our site tomorrow.  Today was a recording day - lots of drawing, context sheets, checking of drawings and context sheets and cleaning for final photographs.  We've finally managed to get a decent shot of both of our square barrows.  Since the barrow ditches are quite shallow, the

Jennifer recording the cist.
dry weather has made them almost impossible to see.  A technique of spraying and kite photo-ing, however, has finally caught them.  Our digging team of Emma, Jennifer, Julia, Orshi, Rachel & Sandra - and of course Oskar and our friends Leaf & Candy who helped us out -  have been amazing.  We could not have asked for a better group to help us this year.

On a mission to plan... Oskar and Sandra work through post-ex planning.

The two square barrows from the kite-cam.
 
We had an amazing time last night at the ceilidh.  There were talented musicians providing us with music, an original score by Daisy in honour of the diggers and lots of people out to enjoy the music and laugh at Gordon and I trying to dance.  I haven't got a picture yet, but the whole digging team was wearing their Rhynie Man T-Shirts designed by Debbi.  All that fun did make it a bit tricky to get up this morning, but we pulled together.  We've just had our final drink (of this season!) in the Gordon Arms and will be sad to leave tomorrow.  We have such great memories to take away with us - and such amazing archaeology to work on - that we know we'll be back!

What a turnout! Meggen gives the last tour of the season.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Gonna Ceilidh like it's (AD) 599!

We might not get to post much up tonight as we are soon headed into the village to give a short presentation about the project and our results in the trench (so far.. one day left!).  We also get to hear the experts from the Scottish Sculpture Workshop talk about their amazing and successful iron smelting experiment they carried out this afternoon.  Probably the hottest activity you could think to do on the hottest day of the year so far... it was amazing to see the smelting furnace in action. We promise pictures soon, but you can also check out the Rhynie Woman Facebook page if you can't bear to wait - Hayley is a much better photographer than any of us!
After our presentations, the village is hosting a ceilidh for us, too!  I can't remember my Gay Gordons from my Dashing White Sargeants really, but after a wee whiskey I'll give it a go.

Mostly today we were catching up on paperwork, finishing drawing sections and starting our post-ex planning.  Pictures to come!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Pictish burial revealed!

It's been a very busy few days, especially for Jennifer who has been working hard on one of our Pictish square barrow burials.  Within the smaller barrow on site was a fantastic stone lined grave called a cist.  These types of burials have stone slabs lining the edge of the grave cut and often have a large capstone on top.  The capstone of our burial had cracked and fallen into the grave at some point in the past, but the stone lining helped preserve some very fragmented skeletal remains.  This has taken some time to excavate and record carefully, but Jennifer has done a fine job.  The Picts did not normally bury their dead with grave goods and there was nothing inside the burial.  Our other square barrow burial, being dug by Orshi, does not have a stone lining.  Instead, we think that we have a 'coffin stain' - a darker soil showing up around the edges of the grave cut, suggesting a different type of burial rite being used.  Variation like this is common in Pictish cemeteries.



The cist grave showing the collapsed capstone.




 

A pair of beads

We didn't quite get around to posting about our other big find yesterday - spotted by one of our eagle-eyed helpers, Joel, as he scanned the spoil heap.  A lovely blue bead, probably of similar date to the white one found earlier in the day.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Rhynie Man tattoo

 
Well now I've never thought of getting a tattoo, but now I might. This is Sandy Forbes who grew up in the village. Now that is dedication!!!

Spearhead mystery solved! Rhynie connections to Borneo!!

Martin from Ashvale alerted us to this curious find from his garden at Ashvale at the southern end of the village. This really puzzled us as the spearhead seemed too well preserved to be an ancient artefact but the fact that it came from the area where two of the Rhynie symbol stones came from made us very curious about this artefact.

Previous owner of the house Mr MacPherson (who bizarrely was at my wedding - small world!) have now been in contact to say:


"I think that spear was an African one that my Dad had a bunch of from somewhere or other, he did have relatives that were in South Africa at the time of the Boer war so it might have been from them. I used to chuck them about all over the place when I got the chance so there is a strong likelihood that the one you found was one of those! Perhaps you had better tell Gordon so he doesn't get all excited about it..."
 

Bead-tastic!

This is the rare white glass bead found by Leona Bruce during our schools activities today. It is a tiny glass bead that dates to the Iron Age or early medieval period (c.500 BC to AD 700). What a fantastic find and well done to Leona and her eagle eyes!! It may have been part of a necklace worn by a Rhynie ancestor.

School visits


 
Well isn't this the cutest thing ever! Little Rhynie folks coming to visit the excavation! The whole Rhynie Primary school and Nursery came to visit accompanied by headteacher Claire Connnor and other lovely teachers. The kids were aged 3-11 and took part in trowelling, sieving for artefacts and washing of finds. We sent them home with a find of their own (some of our lovely modern pottery) in their very own finds bag. All of the kids were fantastic and there was some great trowelling action, sieving and washing in evidence. We may see university applications for archaeology rocket in about 6-15 years from now...
 
Leona even found us a very rare white glass bead during sieving....

Lovely Ditches

And talking of Square Enclosures - here is a section dug across the ditch of the smaller square enclosure as dug by Dave Anderson (thanks Dave!!)- you can see the lenses of orangey-brown sand silting into the ditch towards the base  - this seems to represent the gradual silting of the ditch during use of the enclosure. Above is a much more homogenous brown sand deposit that seems to represent the more rapid or deliberate in-filling of the ditch once the enclosure was no longer used or maintained. Thankfully there was some charcoal-gold at the base of the ditch which should help us date the enclosure ditch infilling.

New kite shot of large square enclosure

Before your eyeballs you can see our latest kite shot of the larger square enclosure courtesy of Oskar's magic kite-cam. In the NW part of the enclosure entrance you can see a group of features that may be part of an Iron Age ring-ditch roundhouse. We are not sure yet whether this is contemporary with the square enclosure - we haven't found any artefacts in the features associated with the ring-ditch yet, but we have charcoal from one feature that should provide a radiocarbon date.

Ring-ditch houses is a name given to a particular type of prehistoric roundhouse that has large erosion gullies, probably created from the stalling of animals within the house. Only the foundations of these structures tend to survive and our example consists of postholes, the ring-ditch and a large central pit full of burnt stone, ash and fire-cracked stone. Hopefully more will come out in the post-excavation and radiocarbon dating to tell us whether this structure is contemporary or earlier (or indeed later) than the square enclosure itself.

Science is real!!!

Science in action!! Petar Davidkov piloting forensic archaeology techniques for detecting graves. I'd like to tell you more but the science makes my brain hurt. He is using a magnetic susceptibility meter...

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Digging into Features

Our work exploring the many features on site continues.  We're doing really well and have been helped by a small but dedicated group of volunteers (today alone we had Sheila - our queen of sieving - helped out by Tony, Ron & Juliet in the big enclosure ditch, Alastair in a scoop, Dave in the small enclosure ditch, Diane in a smaller barrow ditch and Fred in a something we can't quite identify yet!

That's in addition to our team of star Aberdeen diggers, too.  The day was largely dry but overcast, which meant we could see features and fills much better - and now there is a nice soft rain that will hopefully make the features pop out at us tomorrow.  Hopefully it won't be too wet into the day tomorrow, though, as we've got the WHOLE of Rhynie Primary visiting us for their 'day at the dig' - we will definitely be a busy site tomorrow!  At least we'll have lots of (little) hands to help us trowel, sieve and clean up some of our finds.

We've managed to complete a slot each across our two square enclosures.  Neither are particularly deep and they have not had much in them in terms of finds, but both had charcoal, which is hopefully going to provide us with some dates.  Both ditches are quite similar, which adds to the impression that the two enclosures are contemporary. 

The small square enclosure ditch.


A mysterious feature (kind of an amorphous blob...) in the middle of the smaller square enclosure has been investigated, too.  Although we still aren't sure what it is, we have found a large chunk of burnt wood in it.  It looks like a bit of a burnt branch.  We've lifted this whole and will take it back to the lab so our scientists can identify what type of tree it came from and take a sample for radiocarbon dating.

The burnt branch found today.


The Rhynie lurgy seems to have made a reappearance this year (it swept through the digging team last year!).  I've fallen prey and Gordon has a 'tickle' in his throat.  Perhaps a medicinal whisky is in order... just for health purposes, obviously!

Monday, 1 July 2013

It's the Pits (in a good way)!

Another very busy day on site, with lots of visitors coming up to see us.  The Pictish café seems to be doing very well, too - I finally managed to sneak down to sample one of the infamous cinnamon buns (ok... two cinnamon buns...) at lunchtime.  I'm just hoping Debbie has a small Rhynie Man T-shirt left for me (although with all those cakes, maybe I should go up a size just in case!).

Today we've been really getting into the different features on site with all the archaeology students and a few of our most loyal volunteers excavating a range of pits, possible post-settings and ditch sections.  One of our most interesting features is Emma's pit - this pit was absolutely black with charcoal and burnt material.  Definitely not a problem to find dating evidence for this feature! We are not sure what it was used for.  Emma did find a little bit of slag, but it does not appear to be a dump from metalworking and it might even be burning done inside the pit itself.  Nearby, Rachel has been working on a rather odd feature; we thought it was going to be a hollow filled with modern material, but then underneath a perfect little post-hole appeared!

Emma's pit of charcoal!

Rachel working on her feature - dressed for Scottish summer.


Our volunteers in the 'trowel line' made great progress, too.  We've now cleaned most of the site and we've even been able to go back over some areas of the small enclosure to refresh our features and see if we can find any more.  There was a suggestion that we had a line of post-holes just inside the ditch, so we've been trying to see if they are 'real'.  We (well, Fred) also found a sherd of what looks like a piece of the mid-section of a very fine glass vessel.  The glass is so fine and paper thin that we have hopes it might date to the Pictish period - we'll ask our finds expert Ewan for advice tomorrow! This adds to our growing list of interesting finds that we can't quite date!  A few days ago another volunteer, Jamie, found a delicate copper alloy buckle.
 
Copper Alloy buckle found during cleaning.
 
We can't believe it is our second week already - time flies. Now to check the weather and hope for some gentle rain overnight and a little less breeze tomorrow.  Gordon needs to do a bit of a rain dance for Mr Munch I think.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Site visitors

I (GN) had my family visit site today. Magnus (3) who recently broke his arm came with his superhero cast and proceeded to jump all over the spoil heap, look menacing and received 50 tons of chocolate from Mable Beverly. Thanks Mable!!

Elliot my other son showed a worryingly high interest in archaeology collecting some great artefacts from the site spoil heaps and trench edge. We all then went to the Pictish café for some amazing black bean soup and a radiocarbon date slice. There were also some great colouring sheets at the café for the kids and lots of things to see and do there. Elliot also got some Pictish tattoos and Rhynie Dig rock - blueberry flavour that turns your tongue blue. And I bought a Rhynie Man t-shirt. All amazing. So in case you hadn't taken the hint - get yourself down there!!



Rhynie Man T-shirts

Enuff said....buy one at the Pictish café or forever more regret not having those teeth emblazoned on your chest...!!!

Pictish Cafe!!!!!!!!!! Site tours

Well the Pictish café is now up and running and is awesome! Get yourselves down to the café to sample some fantastic baking by Daisy and check out our posters and display of artefacts. The café is on everyday at No.14 The Square, Rhynie. There are after schools activities and all sorts to sample. There are also fantastic Rhynie souvenirs to exchange or to purchase in the shop.

We also had our first organised site tour - these meet 2pm at the café each day and James will be on hand to escort you to site. Over thirty people came on the first tour and over the course of the day I think we had over 50 people in total come and see our rather wind-blasted trench. We are immensely proud and humbled by the community interest and enthusiasm in the project. Well done Rhynier's!! Immense thanks to Daisy, Debbie and crew at the Pictish café!


Icelandic dried fish

 
If you are very brave on site you can try Oskar's Icelandic dried fish. So far Fred and Alan have been brave enough to embrace fishy breath. The fish in question is pictured centre bottom secured in a Kevlar bag. Oskar is now made to eat the said fish in an exclusion zone somewhere around 500 miles from site...

Mr Munch

We have had great weather and excellent progress on site so far. I think a lot of credit can go to Mr Munch (pictured) who has set up temporary residence in our site tent as the god of the site shrine. Any visitors to the site can come and see Mr Munch and get in touch with the god of archaeological snacks. He is very partial to any flavour of Monster Munch and does like the odd cake too...



Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Pictish Community Cafe opens tomorrow!

Don't forget that if you are in the area the Community Café will be open from tomorrow - we've just set up our display in the café and have seen the very tasty looking cakes and Rhynie-based souvenirs (we are dying to get our hands on the Pictish symbol transfer tattoos!!).  There will be tours leaving from the café up to site at 2pm, too.  Head to Rhynie and look for No. 14 in The Square!

A nice Pictish suprise

We had suspicions by yesterday, but did not want to jump the gun... However, after some heavy duty cleaning  of the site today by a fantastic team including lots of great volunteers (Diane was back, Alan and Thomas joined us as well as Fred and some Aberdeen associates), we are convinced that we have at least one Pictish burial monument.  What we think we have is a square barrow - these are smallish square features made by a thin ditch, which often have gaps at the corners.  There might have been a low mound over the interior covering the burial.  These types of monuments are found throughout the Pictish areas, but some of the best examples can be found in Angus and Perthshire.  There are rare upstanding barrows in Inverness-shire.  The kite photo shows them (as well as our fantastic large enclosure and its internal features), but they are hard to see.  If you look in the bottom right corner you should be able to make out one smaller square feature and another larger one just above it.  We're very excited because of course this means we do have Pictish activity in the trench.  We can't say exactly when they date to as they are quite a long-lived burial rite - anywhere from the 6th to even 9th century AD.  We still don't have any diagnostic finds from our other features, but we have not really begun excavating yet - we have been mostly cleaning and planning today.
Oskar's kite photo from today showing the large enclosure and group of pits near the entrance and in the bottom right a smaller and a possibly larger Pictish period burial monument.

It's almost 11pm and I haven't even showered after coming back from work yet since we've been so busy -  and there's a disco (!) tonight in the hotel - so I'll have to make this short so I can go throw some Rhynie-Man shapes on the dancefloor (or maybe not...).

Friday, 28 June 2013

Cake Fairy...

We had to have the morning off today as it was too wet - so we spent a useful day running errands and visiting the Dean's Shortbread Visitor Centre in Huntly (highly recommend the rice krispie creams). The weather turned for the better and we headed to site to find a treasure trove of cakes waiting for us in our site tent!! We have no idea who our cake fairy is - but if you are reading this, thank you!  We got lots done today even with our morning off.  We'll try to post another kite photo later today, too, for a full update on the trench. 

Oh - and a correction - we want to give a 'shout out' to Steve, who was one of our volunteers yesterday (and hopefully this weekend!) whose name we couldn't find. And a note from Ewan that our glass droplet is not diagnostic enough to give us a date (darn!).

Time for a mouth-watering dinner provided by Sheila & John at the Gordon Arms and then we are back out to record a really amazing section in a local garden, which fortuitously decided to show up and have archaeology in it whilst we were here digging.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Puzzle solved at least: Day Four

Day 4 proved sunny (too hot for some) and although conditions were dry and dusty, it was still a good day for picking out features during the planning sessions.  Our 'jigsaw' effect on the site also was solved - as the site dried out more, we could see that the difference in drying wasn't because of a natural change in the soil, but that the area was really really thick with archaeological features! As the soil dried more, the shapes of pits and possible ring ditches emerged more clearly.  We have a very busy trench...

Our small team of female archaeologists-in-training from Aberdeen University are doing an amazing job.  They have produced some of the best plans I've seen in a long time, especially for a first attempt!  We feel very lucky they are with us and willing to work so hard.

Thankfully we also had more volunteers show up today on site  - Amanda and Jenna stayed for the whole day and sorted out the entrance area to the big enclosure.  Fred got his hands dirty, too, helping trowel back to clean in advance of planning.  Later in the day, we had a few local Rhynie folk - Jake and his friend (whose name we didn't catch, sorry!) came by and trowelled up a storm -  hopefully to return to help us out again. They even found our star find of the day - a fantastic glass droplet.  This would most likely have been formed during glass-making or glass-working - perhaps for a bead or something similar.  We cannot be sure of a date at the moment, but have Ewan and others on the case. 

The clear glass droplet found on site today.

Today was great for visitors, too, both from Rhynie and further afield.  Mabel, who used to own the field we are working in, came by for a chat and brought us some lovely chocolates. Fred might just have some competition for 'best visitor' this year.

We can't say how much it means to us to have the village behind us and to have folks coming by for a look, asking us questions and getting excited about the dig and what it can tell us about Rhynie's past.  It really makes our work worthwhile.   

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kite Photo - from Day 2

The photo we've all been waiting for - a photo from before the 'escape incident' yesterday. If we can figure out how to make a little movie from the shots the camera took as it floated away.

Here is our site before we cleaned everything, but you can already see the amazing enclosures - recently confirmed (by text!) from experts at the National Museum as 'rather odd and special' - and the many dark coloured 'blobs' that represent our possible ring ditches and pits/postholes.

You can also see a strange 'jigsaw puzzle piece effect' in the photo where the soil has dried very differently - this appears to be a natural phenomenon as the soils are quite different to each other. We don't really know why this happens - perhaps an old palaeochannel? - so comments with answers are welcome!


Kite Photograph courtesy of Oskar's Amazing (Escaping) Kite from Day Two.

News from Day 3

We managed to get quite a bit done today although the task ahead is still a bit daunting - we have a small hardworking team, but a big trench!  Hopefully  a few more volunteers will turn up this week to help us tackle some of the cleaning back.

The main objective was to clean back over the 'small enclosure' to help define the features in advance of planning.  We have a really clear entrance to the enclosure, which may have some pits or postholes around it.  We also clearly have features inside the enclosure; one of these looks like a ring ditch (the remains of a small timber or turf and timber house).  The other main feature in the trench is a bit puzzling at the moment - we have a few ideas and we'll be eager to excavate some of this feature to get an idea of its use.


The SE corner of our small enclosure - looks amazing! You might be able to just see that it cuts what looks like another ring ditch structure (on the right).

The afternoon was spent planning - these are the measured drawings we do before we excavate.  The students and our volunteer Tom did a great job.  They were all guided by Leaf - an old archaeology friend who is great at training and getting people motivated.  We even had our first find today.  It didn't come from any particular feature, but when we were cleaning up the small enclosure area this morning.  We think it is slag - a type of metalworking debris - and it is very green in colour, which might suggest copper present.  A dinner of veggie haggis to look forward to for me - and maybe a wee whiskey tonight. 

The Kite Was Saved.

Yesterday was a busy day so we missed our daily update - our apologies!  However, we are very happy to report that Oskar's kite was recovered (with camera just about intact) and we will be hopefully posting up one of his kite photos soon.  We knew the kite up a tree issue was something Fred could help us solve - and sure enough he 'knew someone' that could help us out. 
So a very big thank you to Brian and George Beverly (of B&G Beverly Ltd ) who spared some time and used their amazing telehandler to retrieve the kite.  A big cheer from all of us when they came back to site.

Today we did manage to get the kite up, but at one point after lunch when a bit of rain made the site look amazing, the wind decided to die on us.  So Oskar went to plan B... yes, that is a fishing rod with a camera attached! Can't wait to see how these come out!

Rod-cam....


 

Monday, 24 June 2013

It begins...

MG updates on the first day of the 2013 season:
We began opening the trench ( deary me... it is a big trench...) on Friday with Gordon sending me regular texts to keep me updated as I tried to concentrate back in Chester.  Today I started at 7am with the digger driver whilst Gordon and Oskar loaded up in Aberdeen with our Aberdeen archaeology students and a lot of shiny new equipment and headed to site.  Everyone was on site by 11am and cleaning back started after lunch.  We've got these amazing new tools (they have a Swedish name that I cannot pronounce or spell), which make cleaning amazingly fast.  With a team of 6 we've already managed to clean most of our massive trench in 1/2 a day.  Tomorrow will be mostly trowelling and hopefully pre-ex planning.
The site looks great - we are in a field where an aerial photograph shows two square enclosures.  The bigger one is about 20m across and the smaller one about 16m across.  These show up as quite substantial ditches.  We also appear to have features inside and outside the enclosures.  Some of these at the moment look they might be potential ring ditches - these can turn out to be buildings of almost any date from the Bronze to the Iron Age.  We've got quite a few burnt features, too; things that look like pits or post-holes.  It is all very early days. 
It's turned into a fair evening with Tap o' Noth visible from my window.  No picture yet today for the blog.  We were going to put up one of Oskar's infamous kite aerial photographs, but there was a slight mishap that involved the kite escaping (with the camera) and a tree - I'm sure we'll find it soon!

Our team has had a bit of sad news today that we've lost one of our favourite REAP team members.  A terrible shock and a reminder life isn't fair even when you are one of the good ones. We'll just have to make sure that we have a season worthy to dedicate in his honour.  

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Counting down the days

We are counting down now to REAP 2013 - we'll begin digging on Monday next week! 

We've got lots planned already - trips to the school and hopefully a school visit from Rhynie Primary in week 2, the community café opening in the village with displays and tasty treats, and brand new volunteers and student diggers ready to get their hands dirty (and their backs aching!).  Maybe even Fred will dig with us more this year... although we might have to promise him Romans...

Keep an eye out for updates and activities going on in the village!  This year we're tackling a new site so lots of questions and a dip into the complete unknown (well, the somewhat unknown - there are crop marks to guide us!).

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dating news

Our latest batch of radiocarbon dates has come back from the lab - they were all remarkably close and lend weight to our interpretation of the 5th-6th century AD being the floruit of the site when the big palisaded enclosure, outer ditch entrance structure and even the timber halls were built.  I didn't rush out and buy a bottle of champagne like I did when the first batch came back as Pictish, but there was definitely some showing off of calibrated dates in the office. 
In other news, we are gearing up for more fieldwork in 2013.  We're letting the main site rest a bit this year and turning our attentions to some of the 'environs' aspects we still have questions about.  Looking forward to going back to Rhynie and we'll post some more details of dates and open days/events closer to the time!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Absolutely Scan-Tastic!

Thanks to the great support of our council archaeologists at Aberdeenshire Archaeology Service, we've successfully had the original Rhynie Man sculpture laser scanned this past weekend! This was a massive undertaking done by professionals from Liverpool Museum.  The laser scan should provide us with a high quality 3D dataset.  By analysing this dataset, we should be able to ask questions about how the stone was carved, the full details of the carving and it will also provide some amazing images (we hope to post some soon!). 
In our dreams we see a 3D replica being made someday based on this work...

I know I want one for my garden, but I'm not sure I have the space!

In other news - we head to the already sold-out conference in Edinburgh this weekend - Scotland in Early Medieval Europe - to catch up with all the other exciting research on the best period in history and to present a paper of our own.  Gordon has also just returned from a whirlwind trip to Oxford to showcase Rhynie and other work he's been doing on Pictish power centres.  Word is they were buzzing about our fantastic site. Quite right, too!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Love Archaeology

Happy 2013! 
Rhynie appears as one of the features in the new online magazine 'Love Archaeology' - you can check it out at this address: http://lovearchmag.tumblr.com/issue3
Still lots of 'inside' work happening - plotting for upcoming seasons, lots of meetings, grant applications and planning of research papers and museum exhibits and conferences galore!