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Back in the Habit - Digging for Inverkeithing's Medieval Friary

Monday, November 12, 2018

As part of the Fife Pilgrim Way project, a community archaeology dig took place at Inverkeithing Friary Public Gardens, which was once the site of a Franciscan Friary. The dig was led by archaeologists from Northlight Heritage, with input from Douglas Speirs, Fife Council’s Archaeologist.

Twenty seven volunteers took part in the dig which took place from the 3rd to 14th September, digging four trenches across the site in an effort to locate the site of the Franciscan Friary. The volunteers were taught excavation techniques, site recording, photography and scale drawing. Finds include a range of medieval pottery, animal bone, shells and metal objects such as nails. The most exciting discoveries were the remains of the southern wall of what is likely to have been the northern range of the Friary, possibly the Friary Church and also evidence of a possible sandstone floor.

The site proved a popular visitor attraction with regular visits from local people, the Inverkeithing Local History Group and FCCT Staff. Pupils from Inverkeithing Primary School were given a tour, an introduction to archaeology and a chance to try using trowels and hand shovels. An open day on Saturday 8th September saw 100 visitors, enjoy site tours and also demonstrations of medieval crafts such as wood turning, wool dying and chain making for Medieval Methil, a historical re-enactment group.

Miranda Lorraine, Fife Pilgrim Way Community and Business Engagement Officer comment, ‘There was enormous interest and support for this project, promoting a wider awareness and understanding of the Fife Pilgrim Way and the archaeology and heritage of the area. It is hoped that further digs will take place at Inverkeithing Friary in the future. We would like to thank our volunteers for their contribution to the success of the dig and to the community groups who use the Hospitium for their generous hospitality.’

A public talk on the excavation finds will take place on 11th December at the Inverkeithing Civic Centre at 7.00pm. To book a place visit our events page.
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