Previous Sessions

This is an archive of photographs of our previous sessions, to show what we get up to at YAC meetings.

Summer 2017 –

Here is a link to the film, which the members made with the help of Gowan Calder (Drama) and Alexander Van Der Byl (Film)

During 2016-17 we have been undertaking our Heritage Hero Awards.  These are a new type of Awards designed and awarded by Archaeology Scotland.  We’re part of their Pilot scheme.  You can find out more about the awards here:

Our theme running throughout this year has been COMMUNICATION.

In April 2017 the YAC members hiked up two of the hillforts in Holyrood Park – Dunsapie and Crow Hill.   They discussed methods of communication they would like to try out.  We tried several – to mixed success.  It was a really useful pre-experiment for an exciting new project by School of Ancient Crafts this summer.

  • Flags – we used Semaphor as our messaging system
  • Light signals – we used Morse
  • Brass instrument – we didn’t have a Carnyx so used Trombone and VooVooZela!  It worked well.  The messaging system was slighly morse like!
  • Drums – we used a morse-like code

In February we did some research for our visit to WW1 coastal batteries of the Forth.  We divided into teams to do some research – looking at old photos, war office plans and modern photos.  We played a game where the YAC members had to “man” the defences of a scale ‘model’ of the Forth and they had to throw small balls at a mock German torpedo boat.  They hit the boat so many times that it almost certainly would have sunk -and therefore they realised how well defended the Forth was during WW1.  To finish the session the YAC members used the computer game Minecraft to re-build (and in some cases re-imagine) Hound Point Battery Click here for Canmore record

September 2016 – To kick off our year of ‘Communication’ themed sessions for our Heritage Hero Award, we visited Dunfermline YAC’s excavations at Dunfermline Abbey Graveyard.  A great blog of our visit can be found here:

September 2014 – This year, by popular demand, we are doing battles and defence…So we kicked off the year with a visit to the wonderful Craigmillar Castle – to look at how Castles are built for defence.  We had great fun playing a new Castles Top Trumps game, where the YAs rated various castles on different factors.  Then they could play off against eachother to find the ultimate castle (which, at the time of writing is Tantallon!) We learned about different jobs people had within a medieval castle and then we had a play with Historic Scotland’s medieval castle life handling box.  After the session Katy helped YAs Mickey and Abelard and their Mum Melissa to harvest the flax which we all planted at our June session!  Boy it’s grown tall!


June 2014 – We were kindly brought some boxes of artefacts to record and clean by the Collections team at Historic Scotland.  We also planted a crop of flax which we’re planning to harvest in the Autumn.  We played some games to end the year on a high 🙂  See you all in September!

May 2014 – We were very lucky to be able to spend a day at the Historic Scotland excavations at Tantallon Castle in East Lothian.  We got the train there and had a great day digging, washing finds and exploring the site with expert Adrian Cox.


April 2014  – We tried to contribute to the hillfort atlas project by investigating the hillfort on the back of Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh.    We also did some kite aerial photography to try to pick out internal hillfort features and features relating to the later rifle range and quarrying.    The kite kit is courtesy of the wonderful SNAPS scheme  Thank you John!

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January 2014

By request of one of our members we did Roman military manoeuvres… Cat one of the Branch assistants who also works as Education officer for Archaeology Scotland led this session


December 2013 – YAC Museum

One of our leaders is Rona who works at Historic Scotland in the Collections team.  She showed us how artefacts can be divided into categories, interpreted and then displayed.

November 2013

Alison Sheridan – curator of prehistory at National Museums Scotland gave us a special tour/quiz of the Scottish Archaeology section.  It was a great day! Thanks Alison!

October 2013 – We threshed, winnowed and ground our bere barley and shetland oats.  Then we used Bere flour to make traditional Orcadian Bere Bannocks. This is a crop grown only in Orkney – a six rowed barley which is akin to the crops grown in Holyrood Park in the Iron Age.  The YACs also made some butter by using elbow grease to whisk double cream!  They managed it and it went really well with the Bannocks!

September 2013.  We continued our Iron Age farming project with Melissa from the school of ancient crafts.  We harvested our Bere Barley and Shetland oats.  Then we harvested some woad and used it to dye some linen.  It turned from green to blue like magic!

June 2013 – We did a Pictish themed treasure hunt – using grid references to find symbolic clues to help us find the hiding location of a lost Pictish King (YAC Leader Rona dressed up for the occasion!)

Then we did some Pictish symbol inspired environmental art…

IMAG3807Pictish serpent

May 2013 – Planting of Bere barley, Shetland Oats and dye plants such as Woad, Madder & Weld at Holyrood Park.  Thanks to Historic Scotland and Melissa from the  “School of Ancient Crafts”.

Thank you also to the Agronomy institute at Orkney College UHI for providing small amounts of the cereal seeds to plant.

Using antler ploughs to break up soil prior to planting.

Using antler ploughs to break up soil prior to planting.

Using antler to break up the soil prior to sowing

Using antler to break up the soil prior to sowing

Making daub round house walls

Making daub round house walls

Putting our roundhouses into Holyrood Park

Putting our roundhouses into Holyrood Park

The roundhouses in place

The roundhouses in place

April 2013 – We visited the National Mining Museum of Scotland

March 2013 – We were joined by surveyors from the Royal Commission to undertake a survey of Dunsapie Hill fort.  This photo shows us making a roundhouse.

Roundhouse on Dunsapie Crag

Roundhouse on Dunsapie Crag

In February we continued our theme of Individuals in Archaeology by looking at an Egyptian Mummy

Egyptian Death Masks

Egyptian Death Masks

In January 2013 we visited Stirling Castle to investigate the Stirling Knight – one of our Individuals in Archaeology.

Stirling Knight

Stirling Knight

In December 2012 we did a Victorian archaeological Christmas – we made Crackers and Victorian Christmas cards.  We looked at the typology of Christmas cards over the years.wpid-IMAG2721.jpg

In November 2012 we did Otzi the Iceman – the first of our Individuals in Archaeology.  We made grass material, like the material used to make Otzi’s cloak, we did some forensic study of his wounds and tattoos and we also made replica arrows using these fimo arrowheads.


Fimo Arrowheads

In October 2012 we did a session on Individuals in Archaeology- everyone had a character who has been discovered in the Archaeological record.  We looked at people from all over the world.

World Archaeology Individuals

World Archaeology Individuals

In September 2012 we took part in an Excavation at Amisfield Walled Garden in East Lothian.


In May 2012 we had a field trip to Cairnpapple Hill, where we showed our models off to the public visiting the event.  We also tried Kite Flying with West Lothian Archaeology.

Aerial Photography at Cairnpapple Hill May 2012

May 2012

Group Photo of Edinburgh YAC at Cairnpapple Hill May 2012

at Cairnpapple Hill May 2012

Flying the Kite Camera, Cairnpapple, May 2012

Cairnpapple - Henge Phase

Cairnpapple – Henge Phase – Made April 2012


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