The Big Dig

In October 2011, the Machars Archaeology Project focussed on the town of Whithorn for the Whithorn ‘Big Dig’. This weekend event was designed to enable volunteers to get involved in excavating their own test pits in and around the town, with archaeologists and a pottery expert on hand to identify finds and interpret the results.

Participants were asked to excavate a 1 x 1m test pit in their garden, and a grid of test pits were also dug in the field behind the new Town Hall. The Big Dig aimed to plot evidence for activity through the centuries since Whithorn’s foundation as Scotland’s first Christian settlement.

Large amounts of pottery were found, ranging from Medieval to modern. Glass, metal and stone objects and pieces of bone were also recovered. The earliest pieces of pottery, dating to the Medieval period, were of a type called white gritty ware. The oldest sherds probably date to the 14th century.

Below are thumbnails of notable finds recovered during the Big Dig, each followed by an example of an made of a similar fabric, or of a similar probable form to the item represented by the sherds.

At the bottom of the page is a map showing the location of notable finds; click on the link below the image for a larger map. Zoom in the area in which you are interested, and click on the blue pin to see which item was found there. You can click and drag the map downwards if you cannot see all of the information in the window that appears for each pin.


View Whithorn Big Dig in a larger map