Issue: Archaeological monitoring in the streets of Musselburgh

Subtitle recent discoveries
Publication Type
Abstract Archaeological monitoring of water mains renewal in Musselburgh has provided new information on the medieval and post-medieval development of the burgh, as well as adding to known information on the vicus of the Roman fort, the Newbigging pottery and the town mill lade. Activity associated with the Newbigging pottery seems to have extended further to the west than the boundaries of the pottery indicated on 19th-century maps of the town, while Roman remains associated with the vicus survive in places beneath the road surface of Inveresk Brae. However, while archaeological deposits related to the medieval burgh were located broadly where expected, they were fragmentary in comparison with similar deposits from pipeline monitoring schemes in Perth, North Berwick and Crail. The data from Musselburgh are in part less coherent due to the kinds of work monitored within the burgh core, but it is probable that they also reflect a lesser degree of preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the road surface. This is partly due to modern development, and partly due to the geographic situation of the burgh, which does not appear to have encouraged the formation of stratified deposits sealed by wind-blown sand, as in North Berwick, or the anaerobic preservation conditions prevalent within Perth.
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Author Michael Kimber
Issue Editor Helen Bleck
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year of Publication 2009
Volume 30
ISBN 0 903903 99 8
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
Archaeological monitoring of water mains renewal in Musselburgh has provided new information on the medieval and post-medieval development of the burgh, as well as adding to known information on the vicus of the Roman fort, the Newbigging pottery and the town mill lade. Activity associated with the Newbigging pottery seems to have extended further to the west than the boundaries of the pottery indicated on 19th-century maps of the town, while Roman remains associated with the vicus survive in places beneath the road surface of Inveresk Brae. However, while archaeological deposits related to the medieval burgh were located broadly where expected, they were fragmentary in comparison with similar deposits from pipeline monitoring schemes in Perth, North Berwick and Crail. The data from Musselburgh are in part less coherent due to the kinds of work monitored within the burgh core, but it is probable that they also reflect a lesser degree of preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the road surface. This is partly due to modern development, and partly due to the geographic situation of the burgh, which does not appear to have encouraged the formation of stratified deposits sealed by wind-blown sand, as in North Berwick, or the anaerobic preservation conditions prevalent within Perth.
2 - 3
The background to the project is presented along with a brief account of the nature of the remains.
4 - 7
There are sections on the Antonine-period Roman fort and vicus and the medieval period and late with particular reference to the morphology of the medieval burgh and a consideration of early maps.
8 - 11
This section presents a summary of the archaeological deposits relating to the vicus, the mill lade and the Newbigging pottery.
12 - 13
This section summarises the general archaeological landscape within historic Musselburgh and Fisherrow. There were three main types of deposit: occupation layers, midden type deposits and cultivation soils.
Julie Franklin
14
Roman artefacts comprised a samian sherd and some glass fragments, all probably redeposited. There were also eleven sherds of Scottish medieval gritty ware and thirty three post-medieval sherds.
Julie Franklin
14
15 - 16
This section addresses the general archaeological landscape of medieval and later Musselburgh, as reflected by the results of the watching brief and contrasts these results with those from similar exercises in other Scottish burghs.
17
In general extant horizons appear to match closely with known areas of Roman and medieval settlement but have been damaged in places by the creation of modern roads and services. Priority should be given to ensuring that work within the roadways of historic burghs is rigorously controlled.
18
Michael Kimber
Overview of new information on the medieval and post-medieval development of the burgh provided by archaeological monitoring of water mains renewal. Also describes information revealed on the vicus of the Roman fort, the Newbigging pottery and the town mill lade. Activity associated with the Newbigging pottery seems to have extended further to the west than is indicated on nineteenth-century maps of the town, while Roman remains associated with the vicus survive in places beneath the road surface of Inveresk Brae. However, while archaeological deposits related to the medieval burgh were located broadly where expected, they were fragmentary in comparison with similar deposits from pipeline monitoring schemes in Perth, North Berwick and Crail. The data from Musselburgh are in part less coherent due to the kinds of work monitored within the burgh core, but it is probable that they also reflect a lesser degree of preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the road surface. This is partly due to modern development, and partly due to the geographic situation of the burgh, which does not appear to have encouraged the formation of stratified deposits sealed by wind-blown sand, as in North Berwick, or the anaerobic preservation conditions prevalent within Perth.