Soil Testing Colony Site Sunday October 20, 2013

October 2013

Bennachie was fairly buzzing with activity on Sunday as archaeologists and amateur enthusiasts gathered for a day of soil test pitting around the old colonists site at Shepherds lodge.
It was to have been a two day event but Saturday proved to be a wash-out!
But Sunday was fine and mild and project leader Aberdeen university archaeology department lecturer Karen Milek organised her troop for a day on the hill.
She explained: “The soil around the old dwellings and in the fields is very much more fertile than the rest of Bennachie’s barren ground which is very shallow, peaty and not well drained so we want to know what the colonists did to improve it.
“We think they spread all their domestic refuse judging by the amount of pottery pieces and glass we have been finding, probably animal manure as well.
“They managed to remove the large stones and build them into a wall.
“They cut deep drainage ditches so obviously the people came with knowledge.”
Icelander Oskar Sveinbjarnarson was one of the heaviest laden as he was carrying the GPS equipment to take accurate recordings of the soil.
A device rather like a large corkscrew is also used to take small amounts of samples so as not cause too much disturbance.
Weather permitting Karen is also planning a similar event on Saturday October 26 and Sunday 27 meeting at Bennachie centre car park at 9.30am. 
The research is supported by the Bailies of Bennachie landscapes project, Forestry Commission Scotland, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Aberdeenshire council and Aberdeen university.

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