A quick note on the Bennachie Colony dig:
From July 1st to 14th, the Bailies of Bennachie, Aberdeen university staff, students and other members of the public helped us to excavate two crofts on the lower slopes of Bennachie: Shepherds Lodge and McDonald House. Both structures have turned up some fascinating evidence on the final years of the Colony (c. 1830s-1870s). At Shepherds Lodge we discovered a discrete burning layer, which tallies with folk history about the eviction of the Littlejohn family and the subsequent burning of the croft by Bailiffs working for a local estate. At the McDonald House we came down on loads of in-situ pottery (whole vessels), metal artefacts, and possibly a steamer trunk, which were crushed by falling gable ends, pushed over by estate workers. As luck would have it, Ken Ledingham, one of our Bailies archival researchers, has tracked down estate records and found that the McDonalds were eventually 'removed' due to rental arrears. Between the abandoned artefacts and the rentals it's starting to look like a smoking gun for a beautifully preserved eviction event!
In addition to the archaeology, we had several hundred visitors to the sites over the course of the two weeks, including students from a number of local schools and the Society of Antiquaries. By the end of the dig, all participants were well versed in providing impromptu site tours.A huge thanks from Leaf and myself to all those who took part in the excavations! We couldn't have done it without you.
Have a great summer! Jeff