The Mingary Castle restoration blog was written by Jon Haylett, who lives in the local village of Kilchoan. Now that restoration is almost complete Holly and Chris Bull will take over to report on bringing the Castle back to life.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Archaeology Update

This view of the castle from the west was taken at midday today, on a day which saw periods of beautiful, bright sunshine alternating with damp mist, some of which can be seen obscuring the summit of out local mountain, Ben Hiant.

The Addyman Archaeology team today consisted of Ross Cameron, at left, then Philippo Peritone from Bille in the Italian Alps, Lara Ferrarotti from Turin, Daniel Wood from Dunbar, Dale Meegan who is one of the volunteers from the village, Tina Molle from Germany, who is a visitor to the village and volunteered for the day, and, at right, Tom Addyman.  The team looks cheerful because Tom had just  bought them all an ice lolly.

This view from the top of the main range shows where everyone is working.  At '1', Ross Cameron is completing a painstaking study on what is probably the most complete archaeological section found so far, which is in one quadrant of the west, kitchen range - more about this soon.

Lara has spent the last few days working close to the sea gate, at '3'.  The area consists of some flagstone steps and drainage, and she's had to move a lot of rubble - hence the very unladylike mattock.

But her careful work has yielded some good finds, as one would expect from the bottom end of the castle drains.  This is a metal button, possibly 18th century, which she found this morning.

Daniel and Philippo are working in the most unexpected feature of the courtyard.  We had expected the bedrock under the courtyard to be at least reasonably flat but the area marked '2' in the photo has turned out to be a deep pit sunk into the bedrock.  As a result, it's now becoming apparent that the central courtyard was, at least for some of its time, terraced, with a low wall running just behind where Philippo is working in this picture.  The hole is a good 2m deep, and Philippo is still excavating.

The level he has reached is suggested by this find, which he made this morning.  It's a shard of pottery, about 7cm by 4cm, of cone-decorated slipware.  Tom, who is a pottery expert, says that, while the type comes from Staffordshire, not all of it was made there.  What's more important is that he has dated it to the 17th century, which makes it the oldest find so far.

The volunteers have been working both in the area marked '4', where our main job has been clearing the accumulate muck from the cobbles so that Tom can draw the cobbled area, and in the eastern corner of the courtyard, '5'.  Dale Meegan is shown kneeling next to the garderobe working on a drain through the cobbles which appeared to come from the garderobe.  However, her work today shows that it led from the north end of the east range to the centre of the courtyard, where it may have joined a system of drains below the cobbled areas.

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