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Archaeology Scotland’s Roman Quest 30 Aug to 1 Sept in Fairmilehead was a resounding success in one way and not so great in the other. Over 50 people took part in the event and had great fun but we didn’t find anything Roman. Volunteers learned about how to do a test pit

or geophysical surveys and turned up all kinds of interesting ‘rubbish’ in their back gardens or in the local amenity areas in Buckstone and Comiston. Metal detectorists helped out with scanning spoil heaps and targeted areas for metal artefacts and the Antonine Guard added amazing colour marching down the road with commands being bawled out in Latin. These volunteer re-enactors have replicated Roman soldier attire down to the last detail and very nearly stopped the traffic on Comiston Road. AOC Archaeology and Archaeology Scotland

staff did some sterling work making sure everyone was supported in their dig and Roman camps expert Rebecca Jones was on hand to chat about how Ro- man soldiers would have used a marching camp. Finds were brought back to the base at Fair- milehead Church and pottery expert George Hag-

garty gave a splendid assessment of what had been found which ranged from 18th century Chinese por- celain to blue and white patterned plates and slip- ware teapots. Star finds included a musket ball, circa 17th century and piece of a prehistoric flint knife. Meanwhile Young Church were out in the Church garden digging up the flower beds to see what might have been there before and Edinburgh Archaeologi- cal Field Society presented their ‘geophys’ results for Fairmilehead Park. Then we celebrated the launch of Scottish Archaeology Month which will see hundreds of events taking place all over Scotland. Whether people found genuinely old or not so

old materials was irrelevant to most as the process of searching was such fun. We shouldn’t feel too disappointed that we

didn’t find Roman artefacts as they would have been few and far between and we could only unearth less than 1% of the area in the given time. The problem now will be what to do next – people are all fired up and keen to do more. So watch this space.

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