Pupils from five Buchan schools had a very special trip to Aden Country Park on Monday to help with an archaeological excavation.
Children from Fetterangus, Longside, Maud, and Pitfour schools spent time learning more about the site and the objects to look out for while they were digging including glass, flints and pottery.
The discovery of what is believed to be the clay and stone foundations of five hut circles that could be anything from Iron Age to late Bronze Age dwelling houses and has been hailed as a fantatastic discovery within the park, this find adds another dimension to a park that already has a wealth of interesting things for the visitor.
It is not yet known whether the hut circles were connected to a Pictish monastery which is synonymous to the Book of Deer Project. Methlick-based archaeologists Hilary and Charles Murray helped the youngsters and provided them with some historical information about what is believed to have taken place at the site.
Charles said: “School visits give children the chance to see the site. There is a great hands-on element and this way they learn a lot more than they would in a classroom.”
About the site, Charles said: “We are currently working to establish if the settlements are older and possibly prehistoric.
Derek Jennings, Jackie Taylor and Andrew Kellock from the Book of Deer Project helped the children with activities which involved handling objects, identifying items found previously and writing all their data on an information sheet.
Derek Jennings, archaeological director for the Book of Deer Project, told the Buchanie: “Some time ago I received three sets of co-ordinates from the archaeologists, all within the park. This was the final site to be visited by me and it was the obvious site to develop. A series of very visible and mysterious earthworks provided us with the key to move forward. The discovery of what is believed to be the clay and stone foundations of five hut circles that could be anything from Iron Age to late Bronze Age dwelling houses is certainly the most exciting development over the past four years during similar excavations in and around Old Deer.”
The Book of Deer is Scotland’s oldest surviving manuscript with evidence of Scotland’s oldest surviving Gaelic containing place names from around Old Deer. The book also contains the foundation legend for the early Monastery of Deer, how St Columba and St Drostan came to Deer and built a monastery, however it has never been established how large it was or where it was sited.