Shootinglee Excavations Research Grant 2021

Shootinglee Excavations Research Grant 2021

Piers Dixon has been successful in his application for a grant from the Hunter Archaeological Trust to enable scientific research to be carried out on the finds from the Peeblesshire Archaeological Society excavations at Shootinglee, near Traquair, Scottish Borders. A total of £2741 has been raised to conduct the research which will focus on three areas of special interest: the origin of the medieval ceramics on the site; the function and compositional elements of metal objects to determine their origin; and lastly the contents and origin of the burnt deposit from the mid-17th-century floor of the newly discovered peel house.

1. Chemical analysis of 10 sherds of pottery by Torbjorn Brorsson of the Office of Ceramic Studies, Nyhamnsläge, Sweden, to identify the chemical composition of the clay and the possible locations for the origin of the pottery samples (previously selected by Derek Hall, the medieval pottery specialist who carried out research on the pottery in 2020). The medieval sherds include White Slipped Red Wares, Reduced Grey Wares, and an early example of stoneware that may be German in origin. 

A sherd of what may be early German Stoneware, likely to be 14thor 15thcentury in date.
(Image copyright Joyce Durham).

2. X-rays and X-ray fluorescence analysis of metalwork and report by Gemma Cruickshanks of the National Museum of Scotland. The X-rays reveal the shape of corroded metal objects in order to interpret the function of the objects and XRF spectroscopy determines the elemental composition of the metal. These elements help to trace the origins of the metal. The grant will also enable us to commission archaeological illustrator Alan Braby to prepare drawings of the metal artefacts for publication.

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Archaeological Survey and Recording at Shootinglee

Part 1 – Creating the site plan

Joyce Durham carrying out a plane table survey at Shootinglee. Image © S E Scott 2021

At Shootinglee, the first task facing the surveyors was to create a plan of the whole site. This is an essential step in any detailed archaeological study, as the site plan forms the framework for all further investigations and interpretation of the archaeology. 

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Excavation of a ruined “forest stead” at Shootinglee in the Scottish Borders

The story so far……

In 2012 all that was known about Shootinglee was a name on the map, the ruins of an 18thcentury cottage and some lumps and bumps in a field.  This was enough to raise the interest of members of the Peeblesshire Archaeological Society who, on completion of the Campshiel Project, were casting round for another fieldwork project.  Since then we have been enjoyably busy researching, surveying and excavating Shootinglee.  

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