Investigating medieval bloomery sites in Argyll
Join us in investigating late medieval industrial sites in Argyll.

GUARD Archaeology and Forestry Commission Scotland are seeking volunteers to take part in a new project based on the shores of Loch Eck in Argyll during the Spring and Summer of 2015 and over the Winter months into 2016. The project is based around the partial re-excavation of a site known as Allt na Ceardaich, Loch Eck, Argyll and includes a programme of investigation, survey, sampling and dating of up to eight other bloomery sites surrounding the Loch.

'The clustering of bloomery mound sites in this area of Argyll is notable, particularly within the Loch Eck Forest where up to six mounds are noted, three of which being located along the Allt na Ceardaich itself,' says John Atkinson, Managing Director of GUARD Archaeology Ltd, who is directing the archaeological fieldwork. 'This is of especial interest as the place-name evidence suggests that this 'river of the smith' must have been an important place during the later medieval period. Assessment of these sites offers the opportunity to firmly locate, partially excavate and date a number of potentially contemporary sites and could expand our understanding of the bloomery tradition in the Highlands as a whole.'

The programme of archaeological works will be based around two phases of fieldwork followed by a phase of post-excavation analysis (including radiocarbon dating of secure deposits from all sites sampled) and final publication. Volunteers can take part in each of the phases of fieldwork: limited excavation and sampling of bloomery sites; partial re-excavation of Allt na Ceardaich; and the post-excavation analysis.

The timetable for the project is as follows:

Phase 1: site location and survey - already completed
Phase 2: limited excavation and sampling - 22 to 24 June 2015 (3 days)
Phase 3: partial re-excavation - 14 to 16 September 2015 (3 days)
Phase 4: post-excavation analysis - tbc (5 days)

This project offers excellent opportunities for volunteers (no minimum experience necessary) - particularly early career archaeologists - to participate in a professionally-run research project investigating a hitherto neglected aspect of Medieval Scotland. Training will be directly linked to the BAJR Skills Passport.

All volunteers will be expected to cover their own travel expenses and accommodation / subsistence expenses. However, GUARD Archaeology will provide transportation to and from site each day in company vehicles.

If you are interested in volunteering for any (or all) of the phases, please contact john.atkinson@guard-archaeology.co.uk / GUARD Archaeology Limited / 0141 445 8800. Places are limited.