Pupils join the Tarbert dig

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By Julia Hamilton, Kilmartin Museum Education Officer

Weeks four and five of the Tarbert Castle Excavation were particularly exciting for more than 150 local school children and their teachers.

Children from Tarbert Academy, Castlehill, Carradale, Achahoish, Clachan, Rhunahaourine Primary schools and Campbeltown Grammar School had the unique opportunity to experience and take part in an archaeological excavation. Working with the Kilmartin Museum Education Officers, Field Archaeologist Roddy Regan and the Tarbert Community Castle project team led by Robert McPhail, pupils either spent a half day or full day on the castle site.

Each day the children had a guided tour of the castle site and of the various open ‘dig’ trenches, followed by a viewing of some of the objects found on the site in previous weeks. The highlight of their day was to excavate the soil in their trench and the children enjoyed ‘trowelling’ the soil, then sieving their excavated soil checking for any objects that may have escaped their eye.

Finally, at the end of the dig sessions, the pupils gathered round to examine the objects no matter how big or small, they had each found on the day. Over the two weeks, the children found a variety of broken pottery pieces ranging in age and style that included medieval and Victorian pottery, clay pipes, broken Victorian slate pencils, various colours and style of glass and one silver 3D coin dating to early 1900s.

On behalf of the Kilmartin Education team and the schools that took part in the community dig, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Tarbert Community Trust for allowing the schools such a wonderful opportunity, to dig on a site that is steeped in history, and is of such historical significance for the West coast of Scotland but in particular for the Mid Argyll and Kintyre area.