Mansion House Open Day at Aden

A drone image of the Mansion House dig by William Fowlie
A drone image of the Mansion House dig by William Fowlie

An open day will be held at Aden Country Park tomorrow to give members of the public the chance to learn more about its archaeological dig at the historic Mansion House.

The dig has been taking place as part of the ongoing Aden Restoration and Redevelopment Parks for People Project.

The open day is free and will run from 10am to 4pm.

The event will provide the opportunity to discover the finds of the Mansion House, experience digging and join the Aden Walking History Tours which are taking place at 10am and 2pm.

The Aden Mansion House is one of the most significant historic features of the park. Now a roofless ruin Aden House is the remains of a substantial country house originally built in the early 18th Century but substantially enlarged and transformed by John Smith in a re-construction of 1832-3.

The dig has encouraged local people, groups and school pupils to get involved with the history of the Mansion House and heritage of their local community. The archaeological dig which began on the 29th of April has been visited by over 150 school pupils and the children have experienced what it is like to be an archaeologist. They have participated in digging, analysing finds and activities surrounding the history of the Mansion House.

The dig has been successful in finding out more about the history and features of Aden Country Park. John Baxter, a member of the public is to thank for one of the recent archaeological discoveries. Mr Baxter was working at Aden in the 70’s and discovered what he believed to be a tunnel around the house. This information has led to the uncovering of a 1 metre deep drain in the grounds of the Mansion House.

Archaeologist, Ali Cameron, who has been commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council to led on archaeology aspects of the project said: “We have had a very successful dig with lots of volunteers and visitors. We have uncovered the pond for a fountain, a 1m deep stone drain and walls of an earlier building. Come along to the open day and see what we have found including lots of interesting finds.”

Neil Shirran, Aden Project Co-ordinator, added: “The archaeology fieldwork, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), are proving to be a real hit with visitors and schools alike. It’s great to see so many people taking part in the dig, and Saturday will provide people with another opportunity to engage with the history and heritage of the much-loved country park.”

The open day is free for the public to attend and it is hoped that it will encourage people of all ages to find out more about their local heritage. The Mansion House dig is the first of three digs in 2019. The next dig will begin in June at the possible Neolithic structure site.

If you would like to find out more information about the Open Day or have any stories about the Mansion House that you would like to share please contact the Aden Skills Development & Events Officer at justinetough96@gmail.com.