Holdsworth, P., (1987). Excavations in the Medieval Burgh of Perth 1979-81. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Title
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Title:
Excavations in the Medieval Burgh of Perth 1979-81
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series
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Volume:
05
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Number of Pages:
219
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5_1987_HOLDSWORTH_Burgh_of_Perth.pdf (52 MB) : Download
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Monograph Chapter (in Series)
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Author:
Philip Holdsworth
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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Year of Publication:
1987
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ISBN:
0903903059
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Date Of Issue From: 1987
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ADS Archive
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10 Nov 2017
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Abstract
3
Deals with three principal areas of the town: Kirk Close, a densely occupied 14th century domestic and small-scale industrial area with strong rural connexions; 29-30 South Methven Street, 15th century occupation outside the burgh limits; Canal Street II, backlands development with regularly laid out property boundaries. The pottery is comprehensively catalogued, buildings are discussed, and specialist reports on small finds and environmental remains are provided.
13 - 14
An account of the background to the production of the report. Some of the finds reports include data from sites not otherwise included in the report.
15 - 17
A brief account of the location and geology of Perth with limited historical background. Although Perth was not a capital of Scotland, it was an important political centre and frequently figured on the itinerary of the king. Perth remained a rich and influential Scottish burgh throughout the medieval period.
18 - 83
This chapter comprises an account of each of three excavations: Kirk Close, 86-100 High Street; South Methven Street; and Canal Street II. The dating of Kirk Close has been based on pottery and other artefacts which mostly date to the 14th century. The excavation at South Methven Street is important as it demonstrates occupation beyond the legal and defensive limits of the burgh. At Canal Street most of the deposits were garden soils which had been cut by numerous pits in the medieval period. In the 16th and 17th centuries a stone-founded building with yard was constructed.
84 - 88
A group of seven buildings is discussed. Six were constructed primarily of timber whilst the surviving evidence for the seventh, from Canal Street II, was entirely of stone and the structure could have been either a stone or timber-framed building.
89 - 120
There is a lack of primary dating evidence and much of the material is residual. Therefore the dates are tentative and subject to revision. The Perth Local wares are similar to local wares from Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness and similar material has been found as far away as Kirkwall in Orkney. Their production was well established by the mid-13th century. White Gritty wares were also common in mid-13th century Perth. The importation of Scarborough Ware probably began in the early 13th century. It rapidly became the most common imported ware. The small quantities of London, Yorkshire, possible Grimston and E Anglian wares suggest casual importation rather than regular trade. The most common European imports were from the Low Countries. Small numbers of French and Spanish wares were also recovered.
121 - 195
This chapter comprises specialist reports on finds from Kirk Close, South Methven Street and Canal Street II along with identifiable finds from watching briefs undertaken up until 1982. Copper alloy objects include jewellery and fittings for costume, pins, needles, tags, rings, keys, a macehead, clench bolt, nails, studs and vessels. Iron objects include arrowheads, buckles, knives, keys, tools and horse equipment. Wooden items include bowls, pins and a toilet seat. A few bone and stone objects were recovered along with a number of plaits and fragments of moss, and redeposited flint. Substantial reports on textiles and leather are presented. An assemblage of 246 clay tobacco pipe fragments derives from a variety of excavations and watching briefs in Perth.
196 - 209
The animal bone assemblage is apparently a mixture of domestic and commercial/industrial refuse and therefore of little value in assessing the inhabitants' dietary preference for meats. The samples from medieval levels are direct evidence of an economy based on cattle and sheep. Attention is drawn to the apparent under-exploitation of pig, lesser game (hare and wild fowl) and greater game (deer). The majority of shellfish were marine oysters followed by marine mussels. Plant remains are dominated by arable and wasteland weeds. Cereals, brassicas and flax were identified.
210 - 212
The evidence from the three sites is placed in the wider context of Perth and urban medieval Scotland. Perth has become a prime source for such studies as it is the most intensively studied burgh in Scotland. Most of the excavated remains probably belong to the poorer section of the community. As yet there has been no excavation of large-scale industrial sites nor of properties belonging to the richer merchant class.