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Archaeology volunteer opportunities and open days at Aden Country Park, Mintlaw


Following a successful Aberdeenshire Council, Aden Country Park Restoration & Redevelopment application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Parks for People programme, a new project will allow everyone to get involved in the archaeology and heritage of this area of Aberdeenshire.

Aden Country Park is full of archaeological sites of all periods and they are just starting to be mapped and looked at to understand what they are and when they date from.

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Ali Cameron of Cameron Archaeology, who is leading the archaeological aspects of the project with Ironside Farrar Ltd for Aberdeenshire Council, said: ‘In this phase of the work we will be investigating a possible Bronze Age site, possible stone circle site and World War I trenches. There will be digging, survey, work with finds, and opportunities for schools and groups to visit the site and get involved in the work.

'We are keen to get as many people involved as possible. If it’s a career that you want to follow, always wanted to go on a dig or just want to find out a bit more about the area where you live then come along and join us.'

Saturday 25 March

Geophysical surveys will be carried out in two areas of the park in late March 2017. Geophysics Open Day with Rose Geophysical Consultants at the Aden House ruin.

Sue Ovenden, Director of Rose Geophysical Consultants said: ‘A variety of geophysical equipment (resistance, gradiometry and ground penetrating radar) will be in use on the day. The day will be informal with people able to drop by at any time during the day (10am to 3pm). We will be available to discuss the equipment and the wider use of geophysics in archaeology.

'There will be some discussion of the initial results from Aden Country Park as well as results of other surveys, including other sites in Aberdeenshire, also being discussed.  For people who are familiar with the equipment from television programmes but who would like a more detailed understanding of the systems, there will be opportunities for "hands on" experience’.

27 March-8 April 2017 

Excavation at possible Bronze Age site

A group of fascinating banks and circular structures in a wood near the Aden Caravan & Camping Site will be surveyed and excavated to look that the structures and hopefully get dating evidence. OPEN DAY Saturday 1 April.

1-13 May 2017

Excavation of World war I practice trenches

Practice trenches would have been common in Aberdeenshire for training soldiers in trench warfare.  A series of trenches probably date to this period and these well-preserved examples will be surveyed and excavated to see if there is any evidence left by the people who trained here. OPEN DAY Sunday 7th May

Investigation of possible stone circle site 5-11 June 2017

Following a survey by Rose Geophysics in March, trenches will be dug in the area to look at any features uncovered during the survey.  There are also hints of linear structures in the field and these will also be investigated. OPEN DAY Saturday 10 June

These projects are open to people of all ages and abilities. Most of the areas are fully accessible and full training will be given.

Previous digs in Aden Country Park uncovered possible Bronze Age structures and a medieval tower house.  Photos included are from the medieval tower house excavation in the woods of Aden Country Park, 2016. This work was funded by Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service.

Bruce Mann, Archaeologist for Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Aberdeen, said: 'This is another fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to uncover a part of Aberdeenshire’s rich heritage. The last time we dug in Aden we found a long lost medieval tower house. Who knows what will be found this time.'

For more information on the Aden Restoration & Redevelopment project please email Neil Shirran, Project & Funding Officer or tel:  01771 613372.

For more information on the archaeology projects please email Ali Cameron or tel: 07581 181057.

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