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Bennachie team unearths settlement evidence

By Staff Reporter

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A TEAM carrying out an archaeological dig on the Pittodrie Estate has unearthed evidence of former settlement.

Excavation by volunteers from the Bennachie Landscapes Fieldwork Group in the grounds of Pittodrie House Hotel, near Chapel of Garioch, has revealed substantial walls, glass and earthenware.

It follows on from work undertaken last year which uncovered the historically-confirmed Bede House, which would have provided refuge for the elderly and infirm of the parish. Bede Houses date from medieval times.

Some of the earthenware artefacts unearthed during the dig.
Some of the earthenware artefacts unearthed during the dig.

The second tranche of fieldwork, which got underway in July, suggests the area was once also home to several buildings and a road.

The group's Iain Ralston said: "We have opened up three trenches so far all showing promising signs of good archaeology present.

"Trenches one and three in particular are revealing very substantial walls to buildings and we have recovered parts of glass and earthenware.

"The evidence is that people lived here over many generations and I expect that we will find earlier material once we start going down into the earlier layers."

The work, which is a joint project by the Bailies of Bennachie and the University of Aberdeen, is being carried out with the permission of estate owners Macdonald Hotels.

Mr Ralson said: "We don't know when people moved here or why they moved out. The ordnance survey map of 1866 doesn't show buildings here so people had moved away by then.

"A slightly earlier map (Robertson 1822) suggests farms in the vicinity and a rental of Pittodrie Esate about 1771 indicates a number of farmsteads.

"As the area is part of the Pittodrie House Estate it has lain undisturbed under vegetation until now when we hope to find clues to who lived here and when."

Volunteers are welcome to help with the dig and you can email info@bailiesofbennachie.co.uk to book a place.

A complete list of dates is available on the Bailies of Bennachie website.

At work on the site is Iain Ralston, of the Bennachie Landscapes Fieldwork Group.
At work on the site is Iain Ralston, of the Bennachie Landscapes Fieldwork Group.

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