Early Medieval Dalmeny

In 2017, AOC undertook a program of archaeological works on behalf of Westpoint Homes and the City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service prior to the construction of a small residential development at Wester Dalmeny.

Excavations revealed the fragmentary remains of several stone structures, walls and platforms like that shown below, centre, set on a levelled, older agricultural soil, which covered a phase of negative features. Looking at the assemblage from Wester Dalmeny, we have uncovered evidence for human occupation with material relating to butchery, domestic waste and tools associated with stone and metal working. Dating evidence from the site supports an occupation range between the 7th and 9th century.

A small assemblage of finds was recovered during the excavation, which included whetstones, a fragment of spindle whorl, a sooted stone lamp (below, left) and an unused slate pencil.

Dalmeny lamp, platform and samian ware

One of the most interesting finds from the site was a fragment of a Roman samian ware (above, right) dating to the second century AD, which was recovered from the building stones of one of the structures. The site is not far from the location of the second/third century AD Roman military complex at Cramond. There is also another Roman military site further to the south-west and these are both possible steps in our find’s journey.

We also found a heavily worked fragment of whale bone (below). The bone was shaped in a rough block and almost certainly related to the later prehistoric or early medieval occupation of the site. The block would have been used as a working surface - a bit like a butcher's block or workbench - with linear cut marks and saw marks visible on both its faces.

Cetacean bone with cut and saw marks