Members of Ardnamurchan Community Archaeology, as it is now known, were out again at the weekend at Portuairk, where we're learning to use the Jim Caldwell's splendid home-made alidade and plane table to map of the eastern side of his croft. The building and enclosure to the left of the picture have been done, so on Saturday we set about extending the map to the south, to take in the 'standing stone' (1) and house (2).
One of the problems faced by amateur archaeologists and, one supposes, by professionals at a different level, is knowing whether a feature is or isn't man-made, and whether or not it has any significance. This picture shows the 'standing stone' but almost of as much interest is the area immediately surrounding it, which may be the remains of some more complex, and possibly very ancient structure.
The mapping is carried out both by triangulation and by using a tape to measure between the plane table and the ranging pole. Each point that's marked on the map is given a letter, in Saturday's exercise, between A and O. We thought we were doing really well until it was realised that Lara, who was doing the recording, being Italian, doesn't have the letters I and K.
After tea which, joyfully, included bourbon biscuits, we left Jim with all the readings to sort out any problems.
Many thanks to Jim and Jackie for their hospitality.