RCP volunteers recently spent a weekend processing soil samples from the 2017 and 2018 seasons. This is an invaluable stage of the post-excavation process where botanical material and smaller artefacts/ecofacts, which were not hand-retrieved during excavation, can be recovered. While certainly a large amount of charcoal was retained, we also recovered more animal and fish bone and some artefacts, including worked antler.
This material can now be added to the assemblages for analysis by environmental specialists and artefact specialists. Along with key artefact analysis, the valuable botanical remains will provide more information about the activities taking place and the types of natural resources being exploited.
Also, and more importantly for the Early Medieval layers, we also undertook magnetic sampling of both grid sampled and bulk soil samples from areas where we found evidence for iron metal-smithing. Amazing results, in particular from around the Learnie 1A furnace, with huge amounts of hammerscale recovered! And smaller amounts of iron residues recovered in Learnie 1B.
The project is so grateful to our volunteers who gave up a weekend to work through this material on cold, windy days! Now off to the specialists...
Hammerscale from the furnace in Learnie 1A
Flotation in progress at Ferryton