Kilwinning Community Archaeology Project
Working for Irvine Bay Regeneration Company we developed a feasibility study for a Community Archaeology Project in Kilwinning to promote the appreciation of the historic importance of this Ayrshire abbey town. We were then successful in being appointed to support Kilwinning Heritage in delivering this project between 2010 and 2012. The project, jointly funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Irvine Bay, enabled more than 120 volunteers to undertake excavations under the guidance of professional archaeologists. These volunteers were trained in archaeological techniques including digging, recording and finds work.
The excavations within Kilwinning Abbey exposed missing elements of Cloisters, showing how some of the buildings were originally built in timber. Material from the medieval buildings was also recovered including fragments of architectural stones, roofing slates, window kames and window glass. We also discovered artefacts such as locally made medieval pottery, imported wares from Germany and Spain as well as incised slates that had been used to practice writing, drawing animals and for gaming boards.
To ensure an enduring legacy, a schools programme was maintained throughout, with work experience placements involved in the project. Public meetings, publications and Facebook were used to reach out to the wider community to keep them informed of our discoveries. Many of the volunteers who came into the project have also gone on to join Kilwinning Heritage, leading to a renewal of their membership and a broadening of their activities – enabling the society to go on and develop new heritage projects.
To ensure an enduring legacy, a schools programme was maintained throughout, with work experience placements involved in the project