Shovel-Pitting at Shepherds Lodge (Colony House) 25th August

August 2013

An enthusiastic archaeology-minded group of people gathered at the derelict Shepherd’s Lodge site, part of the old colony on Bennachie on Sunday.
Led by archaeology research assistant Leaf Gould they were taking part in a series of shovel test pits with the aim of uncovering artefacts and other signs of an earlier life and to map the soil around Shepherd’s Lodge.
Said Leaf: “ The soil around here is improved so they must had some means of making it more fertile.
“They would certainly have had sheep and hens so perhaps they ‘recycled’ the manure.
“Other parts of the Bennachie slopes are very poor.” The excavators were working in the kailyard and another vegetable plot.
They will also be surveying remaining standing buidings.
Leaf was pleased to see that the shovel-pitters ages covered a wide range. “We think it’s particularly good that we have quite a few youngsters taking part.
“But even folk just out for a Sunday walk have been stopping to ask what we’re doing.” She pointed out a beautiful old well built into a dry-stane dyke not far from the Shepherd’s dwelling. “It all adds to the picture of domestic life,” she said.
This dig will be the completion of excavations started in July.
No previous experience was necessary for the day’s excavations and shovels were provided, sensible clothing and footwear advised.
Part of the Bailies Bennachie Landscapes Project the research is being carried out with the Archaeology Department, Aberdeen university and with the help of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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