Pottery Cleaning and Recording

August 2013

A good crowd of visitors attended an unusual event organised by Aberdeen university’s archaeology department and the Bailies of Bennachie ‘s Bennachie landscape project at the weekend.

The Bailies of Bennachie room at the centre was turned into a sort of communal wash house for the day and the purpose of the event was to meticulously wash then label the many fragments of pottery and glass which have been unearthed from 19th century Bennachie colony sites at Shepherd’s lodge and Hillside. Said community research archaeology assistant, Aberdeen university Leaf Gould: “It has been very rewarding finding these fragments.“One touching find was part of a clay pipe which even had teeth marks in the stem.“It gave a real insight into the lives of the colonists – you could just imagine the 19th century owner sitting at his door of an evening smoking his pipe. “Then too we have found some really lovely examples of vessels, marbles,  glass and beautifully decorated, though broken pottery. One young excavator Tiana Wainwright had found a piece of brown glass with the words & son clearly visible which the experts decided must be from a Hays lemonade bottle. After being washing in plain water and scrubbed gently with toothbrushes, the pieces are to catalogued then analysed.

An ‘antique’ pottery expert Graeme Cruickshank will be coming up from Edinburgh to study the findings.It was in a roundabout way that Leaf discovered her interest in archaeology. She was studying history at Glasgow university when she realised she wanted to learn about the history and the lives of people of much earlier times. She gets her unusual name from a derivation of her given name. Her Irish parents christened her Aoife (pronounced Eva) but from an early age the nickname Leaf just stuck.The day’s event was open to anyone with an interest in past times as no previous experience was required and equipment was provided.Old clothes were advised as the washing process was a bit messy.

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