Excavating Roundhouses: Best Practice guidance launched

typical-roundhouse

Typical roundhouse in plan, by T Romankiewicz. Taken from the “Excavating Prehistoric Roundhouses
Guidance on good practice and effective outcome for future research”

If you were at the FMSG lecture on  Tuesday 10 January, then you will have been lucky enough to hear about the launch of a new best practice document for excavating roundhouses in Aberdeenshire. If you weren’t there, then the following might be of interest to you!

Aberdeenshire is one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric roundhouse regions. Data from research and rescue excavations have formed the basis of the Building (Ancient) Lives project at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. As a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow Dr Tanja Romankiewicz studies prehistoric and early medieval buildings to inspire modern sustainable architecture.

Together with Bruce Mann of Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service, Dr Romankiewicz has now developed a guidance document to promote best practice for the excavation and analysis of roundhouses in Aberdeenshire. The document was developed to inform the Council’s archaeological planning conditions and to provide best-practice recommendations for Local Authorities, contractors and community groups. It aims to maximise data collection for the Council’s Historic Environment Record and to inform future research while bringing in our experience of what can realistically be achieved on site. The authors hope to have distilled their knowledge and experience into a tangible format easily shared with anyone, whether starting their professional career or being part of a local community group digging their first roundhouse. For the experienced excavator it is intended as a quick refresher, but also to re-inspire about what can be gained from investigating even the most ephemeral remains.

The document is available on the project website http://www.ed.ac.uk/history-classics-archaeology/research/research-projects/building-ancient-lives-new-perspectives-on-the-pas/project-activities-outcomes , and intended as a dynamic tool: it can and should be expanded and built upon to include roundhouse evidence throughout the rest of the country.  The guidance has been circulated to local councils, industry members, academics and community groups to consider it as a form of best practice whenever possible, and to distribute it to their members, partners, contractors and project participants.

The project can also be followed on Twitter: @BldAncientLives

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