Day 11: Trench Extensions and Photogrammetry

Over the past few days, the primary activity on the trench has been drawing plans and taking photographs while investigating some of the modern layers we had not yet excavated. We expanded the trench to the west to determine whether we can find other portions of the structure, and have uncovered a large pit of stones from the conservation work in 1904 (more on that tomorrow). In the north extension, we have discovered a second, rectangular stone setting. We are unsure if this is connected in some way to the wall we have been investigating or if it is something else, but we are excited to see what we find!

Some of the team have also spent the last three days making a photogrammetric 3D model of St. Martin’s Cross, the only high cross at the Abbey that has yet to be 3D modelled after efforts by the Discovery Programme in 2016 and the Concrete and Not-Concrete project at the University of Stirling in 2017. The cross stands just over 5m (16’8″) tall (including the base), which makes it a challenge to model safely. Our team required the use of a 5m (16’4″) pole, a large stepladder, and three individuals over two days to make it work. We think the results are definitely worth it, but will have to wait until we are back at the university to process the full model.

We have met a large number of people over the last two weeks! If you happen to be in the area, we are excavating for another week. Feel free to stop by and say hello!

Day 7: Music to Our Ears

Yesterday we had the absolute pleasure of hosting Christina Smith and Calum MacKinnon, both highly trained fiddle players in the West Highland tradition. Last year, Christina gave a marvellous performance in front of the high crosses in the museum. This year, we were delighted to have both Christina and her teacher return to the museum and play again in front of the high crosses.