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Dig Portobello - new Scottish archaeology community project

Portobello Heritage Trust has released details of a three-day community archaeology project, Dig Portobello, which will see small trenches dug across the town, aiming to plot evidence of Portobello's potteries in the past.

Portobello Heritage Trust (PHT) has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today. The Trust’s new project has been given £8,900 to deliver a weekend of archaeological excavation and activities. Led by volunteers from the local community, Dig Portobello will explore the industrial heritage of Portobello, a seaside town in which industry and leisure existed side by side throughout the 19th century.

Running from 29 to 31 August 2014, this 'archaeological extravaganza' will comprise:
  • Training in geophysical survey techniques
  • Excavations
  • A range of workshops
  • Walking tours.

Everyone is invited to get involved! Participants will dig test pits (no more than 1m x 2m) in their own gardens or on designated areas of land owned by City of Edinburgh Council. The objects found will help plot historical activity across Portobello, in particular providing evidence about Portobello’s ceramics industry. The excavations will be complemented by workshops on ceramics and other artefacts, guided heritage trail walks, and ‘Wee Pottery Workshops’ for children, all based at The Wash House Community Centre, Adelphi Grove, Portobello.

PHT is working with AOC Archaeology Group, who will assist in the delivery of Dig Portobello. The project is also supported by City of Edinburgh Council, which has given permission for excavations to take place on council-owned land and will reinstate those areas afterwards at no cost to the project.

Commenting on the award, PHT’s chair Margaret Munro said: 'We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant and can’t wait to start digging. We are very proud of our heritage, but want to know more about our industries. This project gives everyone in the community the chance to find out more over an exciting weekend of activities.'

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, added: 'Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Dig Portobello can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.'


Find out more about the project at a launch event at the Wash House on 29 August at 7.30pm. Anyone interested in taking part can find further information at AOC Archaeology's website or contact Margaret of PHT on tel: 0131 657 2866 or by e-mail. The project leaders are particularly interested in hearing from people who would like to dig in their own gardens!

(Image shows Portobello Bottle Kilns and is copyright Arthur Jeffery; trowel copyright Heritage Daily)

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