In late November, a group of amazing volunteers spent the day sorting, organising and identifying bags of artefacts and samples recovered during the 2013 fieldwork. The Cromarty Arts Trust provided us with use of the Cromarty Stables, an open and well-lit space where we prepared the material ahead of an assessment visit by the project's ceramic specialists, Derek Hall and George Haggarty.
Derek and George, Medieval and Post Medieval ceramics specialists, have called the project the 'most important Medieval dig in Scotland' at present. The Cromarty Medieval burgh site has the potential to fill a gap in our knowledge of east coast Scottish Medieval burghs established in the 12th century. Derek and George's initial assessment indicates that there appears to be a high quantity of imported redware ceramics during earlier periods of occupation of the site, with a gradual transition to locally-made redware pottery. The later ceramics are equally intriguing, with very little high status pots being represented. An assessment of the spread of the material will help us to learn much more about the settlement along Thief’s Row. Other initial observations from analysis of the 2013 fieldwork results suggest that the site may have been an industrial area within the burgh related to fishing. At the moment, this is supported by the amount of shellfish remains (most likely used for bait), large quantities of fish bone associated with rich ash layers, the number of stone finds that we have called stone ‘pot lids’ and very few domestic cooking pots.
The volunteers have begun work on the 2013 excavation report, which we hope to publish in early spring 2014. In the meantime, Archaeology Scotland and SCAPE have helped to fund an interpretation panel and leaflets on the project both of which should be visible in Cromarty next in January.