Volunteers sought for Bennachie dig

Volunteers who took part in last year's dig
Volunteers who took part in last year's dig

This July and August a new programme of fieldwork and excavation is being carried out by the ‘Bennachie Landscapes Fieldwork Group’ into an area near Pittodrie House Hotel where there is evidence of past settlement.

This follows on from their work last year which uncovered the historically attested ‘Bede House’ on the Pittodrie Estate.

The work is being carried out with the kind permission of Macdonald Hotels which own the estate.

Colin Shepherd of the Landsapes Group explains: “Bede houses were created to provide refuge for the old and infirm of a parish and date from medieval times.

“Few have been thoroughly investigated. They were patronised by local lairds; in this case, by the Erikines, who lived at Pittodrie for centuries until the mid -19th Century.

“Last year we successfully excavated the remains of the ‘Bede House’ and parts of its enclosing dyke. During further fieldwork on the estate more settlement evidence was discovered.

“We don’t know when they date from or who lived there and hope that this summer’s dig will discover a little of their secrets.”

People wanting to volunteer to help with the excavations are most welcome, though space is limited, so booking is essential.

Work starts at 10am and continues until 4.30 and got underway on July 8 and 9.

It will continue on alternative Wednesdays and Thursdays: a complete list of dates is available on the Bailies of Bennachie website www.bailiesofbennachie.co.uk/eventscalendar.

Directions to the dig site will be posted up at the Bennachie Centre and the Rowentree car park. Please contact info@bailiesofbennachie.co.uk to arrange days you would like to attend.

Later in the summer guided tours of the sites for the public will be available. Dates and times will be on the Bailies website.

The Outreach officer of the Bailies of Bennachie, Fiona Cormack, said: “We are delighted that this dig is taking place over the summer.

“Bennachie Landscapes is a project organised jointly by the Bailies of Bennachie and the University of Aberdeen.

“It has been running since 2010 and researches the social and natural heritage of Bennachie and its surrounding landscape.

The work on the Bennachie Colonists has added greatly to our knowledge and understanding of their lives,” she added.