Threave dig revealed new secrets for Scottish Archaeology Month

The Community Archaeology programme ‘Can You Dig It’ and the National Trust for Scotland have partnered up again on the Threave Estate to uncover more evidence of its use by people in the past.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 1:05 pm
Volunteers digging test pits on the Threave Estate
Volunteers digging test pits on the Threave Estate

‘Can You Dig It’ is a Galloway Glens project that has been working hard over the last two years to connect people to their local built heritage.

In August and September archaeological volunteers carried out some more test-pitting and metal-detecting days near to Meiklewood Hill, looking for further insights into the lives of the many people who have called it home.

Volunteers got stuck in over three days digging test pits and carrying out lithic surveys. They were joined by teams of experienced local metal detectorists, who shared their technical knowledge and information about the duties of responsible metal detecting.

Some of the more interesting finds were a medieval lead spindle whorl – used as a weight in the hand spinning of yarn – post-medieval lead pistol shots and the remains of a decorative triple bell terret from a horse harness.

As previously reported the dig was chosen by Dig It Scotland to be one of their sites photographed by artists looking to bring a sideways view on archaeological finds. Artist and photographer Dr Chris Dooks joined the team celebrated Scottish Archaeology Month and created some other-worldly images of the long-buried items.

Derek Alexander, head of archaeological services for National Trust for Scotland said: “The archaeological fieldwork focussed on areas of the Threave Estate that are proposed for habitat improvement work and proved to be an excellent community partnership event.

“Over the years we have gradually built up a better understanding of where and how people lived and worked at Threave throughout history, and indeed prehistory, and the recent discoveries have added to that knowledge.

"It is really important we continue to look for archaeological evidence outside the confines of the usual power centres, such as castles and hillforts, if we are to get a more nuanced understanding of the Scottish landscape through time.”