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, 10 September 2013
The scaffolding along the north wall is well advanced. The picture shows how material from the car park can be moved straight on to the platform for distribution around the lower levels, but a second platform, on the third 'lift' (walkway), will be built so material can be loaded directly onto it.
Archaeologists Tom Addyman and Kenny Macfadyen of Addyman Archaeology arrived back on site today. Kenny is in the moat where he will do a section through the stone and clay wall which holds back the water in the moat - he's standing on it. The wall was considerably higher in its time, and was designed to channel water so it drained through the hole (just to the right of the surveying pole) into the bottom of the castle well. Meanwhile, Tom is in the well carrying out a survey.
When they arrived they stopped to admire the hard work put in by the local amateurs who have been digging through the material brought out of the well. We've already had it confirmed that the well was used as a toilet during the middle part of the 18th century, but Tom has now had a chance to study the claret bottles and pottery that have come out of it, and can date the deposit very precisely to the decade between 1755 and 1765.
The amateurs have been finding masses of broken glass, bits of pottery, bones from meals, leather (including the front of a boot) and some metal objects, but nothing very exciting, which made it all the more galling....
....when Kenny, within two minutes of arriving, picked a coin out of one of the piles which we'd already processed.
It was in some mortar and in too poor condition to be identified, but it's about the same size as the sixpenny piece which Ricky Clark found a week ago.
One interesting aspect of the well deposit is the presence of significant amounts of peat, some of it cut into neat blocks. It's possible that these were thrown down into the well to absorb some of the smell, in the same way as wood shavings are added to a modern composting toilet.