Orchard Archaeological Investigations

Clyde Archaeology were appointed in early 2019 to co-ordinate the archaeological investigations and to submit a report to Historic Environment Scotland HES). The local community and schools were involved throughout. Education visits were arranged at four primary schools with a follow up visit to the site during excavations. Volunteers took part in the actual excavations and an open day was held at the end of the exercise.

A Geophysical survey took place in June 2019 following which Historic Environment Scotland requested an onsite dig. Sixteen Test Pits were dug in September 2019, in the location where we planned to plant trees.

Digging test-pit at edge of site. The test-pits will subsequently be used as planting holes for trees.

The excavations turned up a very large number of pieces of clay pipes, porcelain, pottery broken glass and some small butchered animal bones. Most of which was 19th and early 20th century in origin.

Clyde Archaeology were commissioned by us to obtain further reports from two experts in relation to the various items of clay pipes, porcelain and pottery (‘finds’) which were found on-site during the excavations. The reports are now included in education packs which will be presented to the children from the four local primary schools who took part in the excavations. Following which they will be lodged in the Heritage Hub, Hawick for future use at Schools and Education Centres throughout the Scottish Borders.

Working on the test pits, carrying out initial sieving of material, before washing of any finds.

The Archaeologists report submitted to HES identified that no significant medieval finds were identified resulting in HES giving final consent for the tree planting in October 2019

Additional consent had to be obtained to erect three interpretation boards and to eventually install a stone carving linking the orchard to the abbey. A local Stone Carver has volunteered to carry out the work for the stone. He was inspired while taking part in the ‘excavations.

Washing the finds, which were later identified as pottery, glass and animal bones of the 19th and 20th century. As no significant medieval items were found, the planting of the orchard was permitted to proceed.