Murray, C. J., (1982). Excavations in the Medieval Burgh of Aberdeen 1973-81. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. https://doi.org/10.5284/1000184.

Title
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Title:
Excavations in the Medieval Burgh of Aberdeen 1973-81
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Series:
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series
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Volume:
02
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Number of Pages:
255
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Mono2.pdf (40 MB) : Download
Mono2.zip (93 MB) : Download
DOI
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DOI
https://doi.org/10.5284/1000184
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Publication Type:
Monograph Chapter (in Series)
Author
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Author:
Charles J Murray
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Publisher:
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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Year of Publication:
1982
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ISBN:
0903903024
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Date Of Issue From: 1982
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ADS Archive
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10 Nov 2017
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Abstract
1 - 255
The volume comprises reports by a variety of authors on a number of medieval sites excavated in the period 1973-1981. Specialist reports on pottery, small finds, animal bone and plant remains are also included. A distribution map of all the sites is included in the preliminaries.
15 - 16
A brief introduction is followed by a comment on the historical background. The surviving documentary evidence concerning 12th- and 13th-century Aberdeen presents only a basic outline of the town's status and activities. Its development appears to be typical of that taking place elsewhere in 12th-century Scotland, where a growing import trade was financed by an increasing surplus from home production, the result of a more efficient agrarian economy.
17 - 115
This chapter presents archaeological descriptions of remains at 2-28 Queen Street (frontage site), Queen Street (midden area), 12-26 Broad Street, 4 Shore Brae, 42 St Paul Street, 45-59 Green, 67-71 Green, 2-16 Harriet Street and 6-8 Castle Street. This is followed by brief comments on minor sites and preliminary reports on major sites excavated from 1979-1981. The majority of the remains are medieval and post-medieval though a few Mesolithic artefacts were recovered from the Queen Street midden area.
116 - 176
This chapter is a report on all the ceramic material from the sites excavated in Aberdeen between 1973 and 1978. The bulk of the material is medieval with only a very small amount of material from 45-59 Green, 67-71 Green and 6-8 Castle Street. A large group of unstratified pottery from Broad Street, Queen Street and Virginia Street is also reported on. The results of the analysis of the pottery fabrics, although done separately by different researchers have been amalgamated for publication and uniform fabric descriptions have been used throughout with the exception of the material from Shore Brae which has been lost.
177 - 223
The majority of the artefacts come from Broad Street, Queen Street and 42 St Paul's Street. All the artefacts are catalogued and many are illustrated. They include the following: Mesolithic and later flints; wooden bowls and barrel staves; antler hammers, a bone dice, antler, bone and ivory spindle whorls; stone sharpening wheels, spindle whorls and whetstones; two coins of Edward I; copper-alloy brooches, buckles, button and pins; iron padlocks, nails and clench bolts; many leather shoes along with belts and other pieces; clay pipes.
224 - 228
Currently, the archaeological evidence of medieval and post-medieval buildings in Aberdeen is derived from five sites: 42 St Paul Street, 12-26 Broad Street, 2-28 Queen Street, 6-8 Castle Terrace and 45-47 Gallowgate. The total number of buildings is very small, covering as it does, a date range of the late 12th to the 17th century and a spatial range including both frontage and backland sites. It is, however, possible to begin to define some of the construction types in use and to isolate those areas, particularly of the medieval town, where future efforts should be concentrated. Comparison between the Aberdeen buildings and those from other Scottish burghs, in particular the large sample from Perth, allows some very tentative conclusions concerning the status of the builders.
229 - 238
The animal bone came from 42 St Paul Street and the Queen Street midden area. Beef was the major source of meat and hides may have been the primary product of cattle raising. Mutton, goat and pig flesh were also eaten but venison was not in plentiful supply. Bird and fish were also consumed. Prime lamb and young mutton were consumed in greater proportions at St Paul Street as was younger beef. Carcass analysis suggests that beef joints or cuts of beef and mutton were consumed at this site. At Queen Street low meat yield bones and fish remains were more frequent. This may reflect the close proximity of this site to the fish and meat markets.
239 - 243
Most of the samples from St Paul Street contained a range of seeds of weedy plants which either grew on the site or were present in nearby arable field and subsequently brought into the town with produce. The seeds of some of these plants may also have been gathered in times of scarcity. Heathland plants including mosses were well represented though only by small fragments. Rush seeds were present in all samples. The richest material came from two medieval pits in the Queen Street midden area. The combination of possible plant food present and the identification of a roundworm parasite in one is suggestive of a cesspit.
244 - 249
Some tentative conclusions are presented concerning the town's development, topography and economy in the medieval period, in particular, the hypothesis that the medieval town moved. While there is evidence to suggest that Aberdeen was an important and wealthy port this need not necessarily be equated with a sophisticated urban environment. Aberdeen should be regarded as generally isolated from the centres of medieval fashion and therefore perhaps all the more typical of the Scottish medieval burghs.