Busy day on the dig site – Cattle Jaws and Mini Diggers


Another couple of busy days on the dig site. Most interesting for me, the great excitement when a Cattle jaw was found in the terminal/stone socket.  Once again the wooden Rhynie Man Lookie-likie came out and prove to be a very good likeness. Thank you to the @NorthernPicts for the photo – have a look out for them on Twitter and Facebook for more updates and follow the #REAP blog here.


The number of diggers more than doubled today with the primary school’s annual visit to the dig site.  The children were met with a huge container full of spoil to sift through and find lots of interesting things.  They were also interviewed by Fiona Stalker, radio presenter from BBC Radio Scotland – have a look out for the photos on the Northern Picts facebook page, here’s a sneak peek of one of our young at heart local volunteers getting involved.


Listen out tomorrow on BBC Radio Scotland “Out For The Weekend” Friday August 28th 2-4pm for more information about our open day on Saturday 29th August 2015 at 10 – 4pm.

Keep up to date with all the activities and events on Saturday by following the Rhynie Woman Facebook Page and twitter @therhynieman  Hope to see you there!

Busy day on the dig site – Cattle Jaws and Mini Diggers

Visit to the dig site and some (potentially) very exciting news!!!!

A flying visit to the dig site today to introduce some University Lecturers to the Art of Archaeology and Rhynie.  The tour took in the proposed cycle route between Aberdeen and Rhynie visiting a few of the Pictish Symbol Stone sites on the way.

The Rhynie Man way - Full route

Thankfully it was lovely weather and we arrived to see Rhynie Woman Daisy picking Yarrow to put on top of the now famous pictish pizzas.  The site was easily spotted with the great signage and flags.

The approach from the north
The approach from the north

We found Rhynie Woman Debbi and Rachel busy preparing dough and the Pizza Oven. Whilst the kettle was whistling and the oven getting up to temperature we had time to have a quick guided tour with the archaeologists.

Rhynie Woman Hayley’s lovely photos taken at the weekend of the entrance to our outstanding pop up museum, cafe and dig site
Come and visit just follow the Rhynie Man and Woman signs – Hayley Keane Photography

We met with DrGN and he introduced us to the background and context of the site and the series of digs that have been taking place in Rhynie over the past 5 years.  As we started to smell the aroma of pictish pizza there was a lot of activity around the dig site and we took a closer look!


Now the archaeologists tell us that this amount of stones is VERY unusual on this site, there are signs of a fire and something possibly being removed from this socket….now what could that be?  Archaeologists don’t want to speculate but they can’t help wonder if the socket held up something heavy, large and potentially kite shaped.  I wonder what that could be.


I recognise those feet!!!!!


and that handsome face!  No it’s not Fred, but Me!  who’d have thought.  Well it is important to remember we don’t know for certain, and I’m keeping quiet on the matter, but I’m sure the archaeologists will be measuring and calculating things over the next few days with a view to establishing whether this could be the socket hole of Rhynie Man.  Wouldn’t that be amazing!!!!


There were some more interesting behaviours and use of material culture being demonstrated on site today.  I’ve observed a large increase in this kind of behaviour over recent years; the raised arm, the heads inclined towards each other, the cheesy grins and after the event the discussion of whether it is tweetable or suitable for facebook.  On this occasion it was a definite positive reaction.  No doubt the image will be found online and around the world quite soon on a computer near you.  Here is recorded an image of the ‘selfie’ as the event is called.  I would recommend further study of this behaviour.

Visit to the dig site and some (potentially) very exciting news!!!!

Quick update more to follow

Further updates will arrive over the next few days, but from what I saw today there are some really exciting finds starting to emerge including a stone that looks like it was used to polish leather as well as potentially other crucible and amphora shards.  The archaeologists have busy on the site and there seems to be even more flags.  The pop up pictish cafe is now open for visitors until next Saturday, so pop along between 10 and 5pm every day with tours at 2pm.

Quick update more to follow

Oh Boy Oh Boy!!!! we’ve hit the headlines

The dig in Rhynie is gathering momentum and Dr GN and his team of intrepid archaeologists and volunteers have been clearing the site around where I was found.  The media is just starting to pick up early promising indications that there are interesting features to be found and as they work their way through victorian coins and pottery there are more things to be found.

Photo thanks to Bruce Mann
Photo thanks to Bruce Mann


One thing they would like to find out is where I was situated!!! My bolt hole, if you like.  keep all your fingers and toes crossed that they find it and I can finally get an idea of where my cold toes were placed in the warm Rhynie soil.

For further information follow the REAP blog which gives you a day by day breakdown of the events on site.  http://reaparch.blogspot.co.uk/

Oh Boy Oh Boy!!!! we’ve hit the headlines

The Rhynie Man Way – Stone 1 – The Rhynie Man

my home....for now

Also Known as: Rhynie 7

OS Grid Reference – NJ 4976 2636

Canmore Reference: 17218

Archaeology & History

A Class I Symbol Stone carved from gabbro stone with a symbol of a man carrying an axe with two hands over his right hand shoulder.  He wears a tunic and possibly a face mask which extends over his ears to a cover down the back.  His face is destinctive and shows his features in profile with sharp teeth.  Some have described him as a warrior, others a king or slaughterman.  One thing is certain, no-one knows why he was carved onto the stone which is thoughts to have been found where it lay for well over 1000 years.

He is sited in the reception of Aberdeenshire Council Headquarters, Woodhill House.  Found originally in Barflats Field, Rhynie by Gavin and Kevin Alston, it resided in the field and subsequently moved to their steading and finally in 1998 moved to Woodhill House, Aberdeen.

Finding Rhynie Man 

Numbers 10, 23, 27, 35, 37, 218 and X40 buses pass the building. Parking for about 10 cars and some disabled parking bays are available in the visitor parking area in front of Woodhill House. Entry to building is signposted.  Rhynie Man is in the foyer beside the reception desk. Opening times are the same as the Aberdeenshire Council buildings.



Aberdeenshire Council Sites and Monuments Records Database 

Aberdeenshire Council

The Rhynie Man Way – Stone 1 – The Rhynie Man

The journey home!

As you may know I live in Woodhill House in Aberdeen, and while I would love to visit my friends in Rhynie, it is not possible at the moment.  Well I’ve been trying to think of routes and things I would like to see on my way home and have come up with a plan.  Much as I would like to go home, there is the small matter of being a weighty stone, so Im going to send Anne. She’s small, but i’m sure she’ll manage, it’s only about 50km!

Having had a good look at your maps, there are still some symbol stones out there, so Anne and I plotted them out on the map and most of them are where I remember, mostly along the River Don.  Over the next few days Anne will walk between Aberdeen and Rhynie, visiting all the stones and then reporting back on what she finds.

Wish her well, and if you see a wee walker with her stick and pink trainers give her a wave, she’s got a bit of walking to do!

Route from aberdeen to Rhynie
Route from aberdeen to Rhynie
The journey home!

Keep on digging…

St Luig to Barflat Field

Parking at the Old Churchyard at St Luig’s, the pathway runs from Manse Road to the Moss Woods alongside Barflats. This is the view from the North East towards Barflats Field where Mollie and Leonie were digging earlier in the week.

Archaeologists have found two other Pictish stones in this field – The Craw Stane (which is not that difficult to miss) and Rhynie Stone 8 found a month after I was in 1978.  Eight symbol stones (so far) have been found in Rhynie, a ‘Very Royal Place.’

In a week of test pitting, by Thursday decisions are being made on what needs to be looked at more closely. Two of the test pits have been backfilled after records and images were taken. The dig now focussed on the East test pit Lindsey and Jordon started earlier in the week and plans were being made to dig an additional test pit to the south which showed up some interesting readings on Oskar’s Geophysics report.

test pit in barflats field

You have to dig really deeply to find anything in the Barflats field.  This pit was around one meter deep by three meters long.

East Test Pit Barflats FieldLindsey working hard to find out whether the test pit shows anything interesting.  Oscar described it as a Cairn, this is the term used for anything from  ‘a pile of stones’ to something much more interesting.  The stones sat below the ploughed line, where ground has been disturbed over the past 1500 years, in a rough arc.  The pit was dug across the feature as a way of determining whether this would be an interesting place to investigate further in the summer.

cairn evidence removed from trench

Some of the stones removed by (mainly) Lindsey and Oscar from the cairn, as a first year Lindsey was on a steep learning curve learning about the skills of an archaeologist, Rhynie Woman cakes, tools such as the different types of archaeological trowel and the ultra technical approach – give it a bit of welly!

mini Rhynie Man stone?

It’s amazing to think that the last time someone touched these stones Scotland possibly didn’t exist as a unified country!   The shape of this stone reminds me of something….A mini Rhynie Man.

The digging continues on Friday and we look forward to seeing all the archaeologists back in September – lets hope for good weather and lots of interesting finds.  For more information on the dig please get in touch via Aberdeen University Archaeology Department.  We’ll be looking for volunteers and of course Rhynie Woman will be there to fill us all with cake and creativity.  Full plans and a pop up information stand will be at the Rhynie community gala on the 15th August 2015.  See you there…..

Keep on digging…