post-exflint expert Dene Wrightan ambitious jigsawsoil flotationbead from TarbetDonal Batesontin-glazed earthenware

Post-Excavation Analysis

Finding artefacts is only the beginning! All the artefacts discovered during the excavations have to be cleaned, sorted, labelled and identified. It's only then that the archaeologists can really try and make sense of them. Some can be dated and identified quite easily, if people have seen lots of similar things before. Sometimes, though, even the 'experts' aren't sure how old things are or what they were used for - that's what keeps it so exciting!

Volunteers visited Northlight Heritage's labs over the summer to help clean, sort and label the finds from the Hidden Heritage excavations. They also carried out some soil flotation, which is a technique used to separate out very small artefacts from soil samples - ones that would otherwise be missed. Once sorted, the finds were sent to people who specialise in particular types of artefacts for further analysis. The reports from all the specialists are included within the final excavation report produced by Northlight Heritage, which is available to read/download HERE.

All the pottery went to renowned Scottish ceramics expert George Haggarty, who came to Arrochar and gave a fascinating presentation about the history of Scottish ceramics, as well as answering volunteer's questions about the finds from the dig. One particular treasure turned out to be a delicate piece of blue and white tin-glazed earthenware, found in the enclosure opposite Ballyhennan.

The collection of flint pieces from Tarbet were examined by 'lithics' expert Dene Wright from Glasgow University. Dene also gave a talk at the project's conference in May about lithics in the West of Scotland. 

One of the coins found was taken to coin expert and Senior Curator at the Hunterian Museum, Donal Bateson, who identified it as a copper penny dating to the first half of the 19th century - possibly from the reign of one of the Georges, William, or a young Victoria.

The glass and pieces of clay pipe were sent to Robin Murdoch and Dennis Gallagher, respectively.

The beautiful amber bead found during the September excavation at Tarbet has been examined by Dr. Alison Sheridan, Prinicpal Curator of National Museums Scotland and by Dr. Colleen Batey from Glasgow University.

The pistol ball was examined by Dr. Tony Pollard of Glasgow University.