The National Trust for Scotland is holding a community archaeological dig at Inveresk Lodge Garden near Musselburgh next month.
As part of East Lothian Archaeology and Local History Fortnight, volunteers of all ages are being invited along to the banks of the River Esk, the scene of the Battle of Pinkie, September 10, 1547.
The dig will attempt to unearth physical evidence and artefacts remaining from the battle, when Henry VIII’s English forces virtually destroyed a Scottish army of 23,000.
Henry’s goal, which he failed to achieve, was the forced marriage of his son, the future Edward Vl, to Mary Queen of Scots. Read more.
Humans had a sophisticated calendrical system thousands of years earlier than previously thought, according to new research.
The discovery is based on a detailed analysis of data from an archaeological site in northern Scotland – a row of ancient pits which archaeologists believe is the world’s oldest calendar. It is almost five thousand years older than its nearest rival – an ancient calendar from Bronze Age Mesopotamia.
Created by Stone Age Britons some 10,000 years ago, archaeologists believe that the complex of pits was designed to represent the months of the year and the lunar phases of the month. Read more.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have discovered a secret medieval chamber and its ancient loo - hidden for centuries - during a conservation scheme to protect the oldest castle keep in Scotland.
The remarkable discovery has been made at the 700-year-old medieval tower at the National Trust for Scotland’s Drum Castle near Banchory
Drum Castle, the seat of the Chief of Clan Irvine for centuries, has the oldest keep in Scotland and is the oldest intact building in the care of the trust.
The trust is planning to bring in specialists to remove cement pointing on the ancient tower and replace it with traditional, breathable lime mortar to help preserve the historic keep. Read more.
Try this today. Ask people who they think is Scotland’s most famous woman. In response I got a couple of JK Rowlings, an Annie Lennox or two, even a Dolly the Sheep from Confused of Marchmont, but the vast majority of people immediately plump for Mary, Queen of Scots.
Almost 500 years after her birth she still exerts huge fascination despite the fact her reign as queen in her own right only lasted from 1561 to 1567. Short-lived it may have been, but it was action-packed. Mary’s time on earth was crammed with romance, murder, mystery, betrayals, imprisonment and finally a beheading. The full facts may never be known – was she involved in her second husband’s murder, abducted and raped by her third? Despite the intense scrutiny she has always attracted, it’s not clear.
“Mary is of abiding interest because she was a woman in a man’s world,” says David Forsyth, Senior Curator, Scottish Social History and Diaspora at National Museums Scotland. Read more.
Extensive Ancient Underground Network Discovered From Scotland to Turkey
German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kusch, in his latest book ‘Secrets of the Underground Door to an Ancient World’ has revealed that tunnels were dug under literally hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over Europe and the fact that so many tunnels have survived 12,000 years indicates that the original network must have been huge.
‘In Bavaria in Germany alone we have found 700metres of these underground tunnel networks. In Styria in Austria we have found 350metres,’ he said. ‘Across Europe there were thousands of them – from the north in Scotland down to the Mediterranean.
The tunnels are quite small, measuring only 70cm in width, which is just enough for a person to crawl through. In some places there are small rooms, storage chambers and seating areas. Read more.
An archaeological survey on the famous Scots isle of Iona – where St Columba landed 1450 years ago to spread Christianity in Scotland – has shown signs of ancient burials.
This is the first geophysical investigation to be undertaken away from the core focus of the Columban monastic enclosure and the Benedictine Abbey.
The surveys were carried out on National Trust for Scotland land on the island by Dr Sue Ovenden and Alastair Wilson of Rose Geophysical Consultants.
The pair examined two areas in the fields to the south of the village - one close to the current village hall and south of the Nunnery and the other at Martyr’s Bay.
The area close to the village hall seems to show features of recent or natural origin which will be excavated later this year. Read more.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS are planning a major dig to uncover one of the lost Kingdoms of the ancient Picts, the tribe of legendary warriors whose empire stretched from Fife to the Moray Firth before they mysteriously vanished from history.
Until recently historians had believed that Fortriu - one of the most powerful Kingdoms of the “painted people” - had been based in Perthshire.
But recent research has now placed the Pictish stronghold much further north to the Moray Firth area.
And it was revealed today that a team of archaeologists from Aberdeen University are to embark on a series of excavations on the Tarbat peninsula in Ross-shire where archaeologists have already uncovered evidence of the only Pictish monastic settlement found in Scotland to date. Read more.
If you enjoy the coast, know about your local heritage – or want to explore it further, you could make a real contribution to a national project which is being run by The SCAPE Trust and the University of St Andrews.
The Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk project is looking for volunteers who can visit threatened coastal archaeological and historical sites in their local areas to take photographs, record their current condition and contribute information to a national database of coastal archaeological sites.
Of the 1,000 archaeological sites around Scotland short-listed as the highest priority for action because of their importance and risk of loss as a result of erosion, nearly a quarter are in Orkney. Read more.