Archaeologists to dig into history of Wemyss Caves

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Archaeologist and volunteers will be digging into the history of the Wemyss Caves in the first excavations to take place since the Time Team investigations in 2004.

The dig is part of a wider programme of events organised by the Save the Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS), with the SCAPE Trust, University of St Andrews, coordinating the archaeological work which will also be joined by Northern Picts Project archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen.

SCAPE archaeologist Joanna Hambly said: “We are so excited to be excavating in the caves and this is the right time to be doing it.

“Our understanding of the Picts is being transformed by archaeological information coming out of Northern Picts Project and the Wemyss Caves could hold important information about the origins of the Pictish symbol system.

“We are also interested in the archaeology of other uses of the Caves. One of our trenches will investigate the Doo Cave to find out more about this rare medieval pigeon house.

“In the Court Cave, we will be investigating the floor of the cave with a view to developing an accessible path so that more visitors can experience this remarkable space and its Pictish panel of carvings.”

In a free event on Friday, 7-9.30pm in the Rosie & MacDuff Hall, East Wemyss, you can hear talks about the archaeology and symbols of the Wemyss Caves by Ms Hambly and Gordon Noble, director of the Northern Picts Project, University of Aberdeen.

July 14 is a special ‘Dig the Picts’ open Sunday with free guided tours of the excavations leaving from the Wemyss Caves Museum in the Terras Hall, at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm. The Terras Hall will be the centre of other fun activities on the day including Pictish face painting and stone carving.

Mike Arrowsmith, chair of SWACS, added: “The project acknowledges the huge significance of the Wemyss Caves for Pictish research.

“It brings archaeologists and Pictish specialists together with passionate local volunteers and members of SWACS in researching and celebrating the Wemyss Caves.

“What an achievement.

“The new knowledge gained from it will help us interpret the caves for the growing numbers of people who visit them, and ultimately help us achieve our ambition to develop the caves as an important visitor destination in Fife.”