23 August 2012

We now have the results of the preliminary study of the archaeomagnetic dating samples taken from the vitrified rampart during the excavation. The purpose of this was to try to extract a date for the actual burning of the rampart.

Nine samples of in-situ vitrified stone were oriented on site and sub-sampled in the Archaeological Sciences laboratory at the University of Bradford. For a successful date to be obtained the material must have been heated at the same time and not have been disturbed since heating. Unfortunately, the preliminary data indicates that the material sampled has been heated but is no longer in the position in which it was last heated. This indicates that the material has slumped significantly since heating. Slumping of the rampart was especially apparent along the west side of the hill. Given this scenario, the vitrified rampart cannot be dated by archaeomagnetic studies as the material is no longer in the position in which it was fired. Measurements of the intensity of magnetisation of the samples may allow them to be dated in future but, at present, this method is not sufficiently developed in the UK.

Which is a bit disappointing.

However, we have also just now received nine radiocarbon dates from charcoal and wood collected from the various occupation and construction layers during the excavation. These dates are very interesting and reveal another aspect to the archaeology of Trusty’s Hill.

But you will have come to the DGNHAS 150th Anniversary Conference (www.dgnhas.org.uk) at Dumfries andGalloway College, on Saturday 8 September this year, to find out!


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