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EDINBURGH ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SOCIETY

.)' *
Geophvsical Survey p

at
National ~ u s e u mof Rural Life L

Wester Kittochside, Philipshill Road


East Kilbride

1. Introduction

The Society was invited by the National Museums Scotland to undertake a resistance survey at the National
Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside, in September 2006. The National Museum of Rural Life was
developed jointly by the National Museums Scotland (NMS) and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and
it is to both these organisations that the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society (EAFS) is grateful for the
opportunity to undertake this geophysical survey.

The area to be surveyed was at the Historic Farm of Wester Kittochside and in particular, the area
immediately surrounding the farm buildings - the site is approximately centred on NGR NS 61 10 5625. On
plans of the farm, the specific areas to be surveyed are referred to as: the Ornamental Garden (to the south
and southwest of the house), the Courtyard (the central core surrounded by farm buildings) and the Stack-
yard (to the north of all farm buildings) - Illus. 1,2 and 3.

September was chosen as it coincided with Scottish Archaeology Month (SAM) and by staging the event as
part of SAM, it would give the public the opportunity to talk to the Society about geophysics and to witness
and to participate in the conduct of a survey. As it turned out, the day chosen was wet and there were few
visitors at the farmhouse to try their hand at resistance surveying.

The farm is situated on top of one of the transverse ridges that cross the site in roughly a north-south
direction. To the rear of the Stack-yard is a small quarry cut into the local volcanic rock - Illus. 6. This rock
outcrops again some lOOm beyond the fence to the south of the Ornamental Garden. It may be taken,
therefore, that the bedrock is nowhere far from the surface. The small Kitchen Garden (to the southwest of
the house), which was not included in the survey, lies to the west of the ridge, and down-slope from it, and
may be considered to lie in good natural soils or to have been built up with soil. The western side of the
farm drops quickly to open fields, suggesting that the entire transverse ridge of volcanic rock dips to the east
where it merges fairly evenly with the fields.

The whole area forms part of the Clyde Plateau Volcanic Formation which is classified as Carboniferous
Extrusive Igneous. The underlying bedrock of the land at Wester Kittochside comprises extrusive basic
lavas and tuff. The soils lie upon boulder clays derived from the basaltic rocks and are themselves derived
from igneous rocks, sandstones and shales - Ref. Geological Sheets NS 65 NW, solid and drift.

In general, the present farm buildings date to 1782-4, but it is considered that the north range of the
courtyard stands on the footings of an earlier building perhaps dating to the 17' century - the 1784 date on
one of the lintels of the barn and cart shed, certainly points to a time of rebuild. However, records suggest
that the land of Wester Kittochside was already in the hands of a tenant farmer by 1567. Although no
evidence exists to suggest that there was a dwelling on the site of the present farmhouse, it was with these
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possibilities in mind that a geophysical survey was undertaken.
2. Summary
ir

The position of the three squares surveyed in the Ornamental Garden was defined ip relation to^the south
facing wall of the Farm house - Illus. 8. The squares were first laid.out to provide the best fit within the
garden area taking into consideration the position of trees, shrubs, footpaths and wallsISone of the three
2Ox20m squares is complete! The missing results for the two southern squares (southern centre of the
garden) was due to the dense shrubbery in that area. The missing results for the square to the west of the
farmhouse, was due to the presence of the north garden wall on this side of the house. The blank l m squares
in the two western 20m squares was due to the presence of trees.

Of the two other areas to be looked at, the Courtyard and the Stack-yard, both had differing layers of
hardcore spread over an unknown number of layers of material which preceded the present top layer. It was
considered that the Stack-yard was most likely to have fewer older and deeper layers of material and hence
it was chosen for survey. The Courtyard was left until more was known about the underlying materials.
The position of the one square surveyed in the Stack-yard was defined in relation to the north facing
concrete edge of the Dutch Barn and one of the roof supports - Illus.9. Again, this square was laid out to
provide the best fit within the Stack-yard, taking into consideration the position of farm machinery, hay
bales and a haystack. The square was again incomplete, in the northeast corner, as a result of the presence of
the latter two obstacles.

3. Method

The TRICIA area ground resistance measuring equipment was used to make the survey of the four 2Ox20m
squares. The equipment is used in the 'twin' configuration in which two probes are mounted on a portable
frame 0.5m apart. They comprise one current input and one potential measurement probe. Two remote
probes, again one for current and one for potential measurement, are inserted about l m apart and positioned
so that no reading is taken on the portable frame nearer than 15m to them. All readings were taken at l m
intervals in lanes 1m wide proceeding in a zigzag manner for each of the 2Ox20m squares. The unit on the
moving frame generates the 137Hz current that flows through the ground and is detected by the potential
measurement probes. Also within the unit is the display indicating the resistance reading being measured
and the data store into which the readings are dumped for later processing and printing. The 0.5m spacing of
the probes on the frame results in ground resistance being recorded to a depth of 0.5m to 0.75m. If, on
completion of the survey of a group of squares, the remote probes require to be moved to a new position to
maintain their minimum of 15m from the next area to be surveyed, then the distance apart of the remote
probes, in their new position;is adjusted to give, if possible, the same resistance reading at the selected point
as was recorded at the previous position. Any minor discrepancy in the reading can be corrected in the edge
matching facility in the processing software. On completion of the surveys the data is downloaded from the
unit, via the RS232 interface to a computer and printer running the TRKIA programme. The printout is in
grey scale with the black and white limits chosen based upon the highest and lowest ohms readings
recorded. It is normal practice to print high resistance (paving and wall footing) as black and low resistance
(in-filled ditches and damp areas) as white. Computer processing of the data includes a facility to average
between adjacent metre squares so that the printout shows smoother gradation than would be the case if the
pixel size was not reduced from the original l m square; normally a processed sample size of 0.25m is used.
4. Results
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Of the three 2Ox20m squares completed in the Ornamental Garden, no obvious feature: &$re n6ted in the
results which might indicate the presence of former buildings. However, there was a startling difference
between the two squares to the southwest of the house (towards the Kitchen Garden a$ down-slope from
the main axis of the ridge and farm) compared to the one square immediately in front of the house. The well
tended front garden with rose beds and shrubs gave very low resistance readings with no high resistance
areas - Illus. 4. It is considered that this might indicate deep soils with plenty of moisture and, as with the
Kitchen Garden, soil had been brought in to provide a good growing area in front of the house for plants.
The two squares to the west by contrast showed up the varying patterns of high and low which might be
associated with the underlying geology. This area too was not currently as cared for as that in front of the
house and may never have had flower beds - Illus. 5. Thus, it may never have had the same amount of soil
added. Here too, there were trees and it may have always been a woodland garden; the trees accounting for
the higher overall resistance measurements owing to the lower moisture content of the soil. It should be
noted, however, that to provide a shelter belt, the whole top of the hill and hence the farm, is surrounded by
trees which would suggest that there must be sufficient soil to support strong growth - Illus. 10.

Only one 2Ox20m square could be fitted into the Stack-yard on account of the farming equipment, haystack
and bales of hay round the perimeter - Illus. 7. The surface here is of coarse hardcore, but the readings
obtained appeared reasonable and were conducted from the front of the concrete apron of the Dutch Barn in
a northerly direction. The results showed a small, almost 7m square, area of high resistance immediately in
front of the Dutch Barn with an arc of low resistance before another high area to the north, in the direction
of the quarry. This latter high area may only indicate the presence near the surface of the underlying
geology. However, the arc of low resistance may indicate the presence of a ditch or drainage channel. (The
cover for a drain was noted to the east of the Dutch Barn.).
The only high resistance which, by its apparent regular shape, might indicate the foundations of a building
was, therefore, that by the Dutch Barn - Illus. 11.

5. Conclusions

Ornamental Garden Survey Area


The area immediately in front of the house was all low resistance, with no high resistance spots. Thls would
suggest that the bedrock is not close to the surface and that the area has a good depth of soil when compared
with other parts of the farm which lie on top of the ridge. This soil may have been added in order to make
the garden and may be considered to be fairly free draining as it lies on a downward facing slope to the
south. The very low resistance in the centre may indicate a natural channel in the subsoil or the underlying
geology. Unfortunately, due to the dense growth at the foot of the garden, by the iron fence, no readings
could be taken to complete the square and it can only be assumed that, as with the square to the west, the
high and low resistance shading would blend evenly across the edges of the squares.
The area to the southwest of the farm, two squares, showed very decided variations in resistance. However,
the two high resistance spots may only indicate the underlying geology. The linear low resistance in the
centre of the more southerly of the two squares may indicate the presence of a field drain. However, the
northeast/southwest low resistance in the more northerly square may only indicate the presence of the path
which runs from the wall gate and farmhouse to the Kitchen Garden.

Stack-yard
he most promising high resistance area was that immediately in front of the Dutch Barn. Its regular shape
would suggest foundations of some kind and, if a trial trench or test-pit was ever to be put in, it would make
the best point to start any further exploratory work on the site. The low resistance, which separates this area
of high resistance from the next high area to the north, swings in an arc round the regularly shaped high. It
suggests a trough in the underlying bedrock which could be natural or man-made. Again, only a trial trench
would remove any doubts as to its origin and whether it bore any relationship to the high area to the south.

Courtyard P

As stated in the introduction, it had been the intention to survey the Courtyard in addit&to thiomamental
Garden and Stack-yard. However, on examination, it was decided to leave the Courtyard until more was
known about the make-up of the materials which underlie the present top layer. .-
If an opportunity to investigate the depth and constituents of the sub-surface of the Courtyard should arise
however, the results should be recorded and if deemed necessary, a further resistance survey undertaken.

At present, no follow-up to this session of recording is planned and the full implication of the results has not
been discussed.

6. Acknowledgements

We are pleased to record our thanks to the following for assistance, and for the opportunity to conduct the
survey:-
To Dr David H Caldwell, Keeper of Scotland & Europe, National Museums Scotland, our Honorary
President, for inviting us to conduct the survey.

To Duncan Dornan, General Manager, Elaine Edwards, Curator, and Brian Wilkinson, Learning and
Programmes Officer, at the National Museum of Rural Life, National Museums Scotland, for arranging
permission and providing information relating to the site at Wester Kittochside.

The Society members involved in the survey sessions were:


Alan Calder, Valerie Dean, Hugh Dinwoodie, Ian Hawkins, Don Mathews and Denis Smith.
A further contribution to the completion of the survey and report was made by Ian Hawkins in processing
the ground resistance measurements and providing the printouts for the illustrations.

7. References
(i) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Broadsheet
No.7, 'Wester Kittochside'.

(ii) British Geological Survey. Solid Geology NS 65 NW

(iii) British Geological Survey. Solid Geology NS 65 NW

(iv) The National Trust for Scotland and the National Museums of Scotland,
Wester Kittochside Farm, East Kilbride, 'Historic Buildings and Landscape Survey'.

ACMC 2/9/06
\ / - -- --. -
Reproduced by courtesy of RCAHMS

Illus. 1 Site Map. National Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside.


Illus. 2 Surveyed Areas on a Ground Plan of Wester Kittochside Farm
Reproduced by courtesy of NMS
f~orth

Illus. 3 Block Diagram of Wester Kittochside Farm Buildings

Illus. 4 Wester Kittochside Farmhouse and Ornamental Garden


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T~orth
Illus. 5 Ornamental Garden Southwest of Farmhouse

Illus. 6 Quarry to North of Stack-yard

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Illus. 7 Stack-yard as viewed from Dutch Barn

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Ilhs, 8 Ornamental Garden Ground Resistance Plot Relative to Farmhouse

. .

7 I

f + + +
DUTCH BARN
(Not to Scale)

SQIIARE ALIGNED
ON 3ARN ROOF
SUPPORT
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Illus. 9 Stack-yard Ground Resistance Plot Relative to Dutch B a n