'... a winsome grace peculiarly its own': an Introduction to the Archaeology of the Manor Valley.
Peeblesshire Archaeological Society 2000, Edited by Trevor Cowie
- from text compiled by Ken Cobban, Trevor Cowie, Peggie Ferguson, Bob Knox, Isabelle Paterson and Tam Ward
In 1994, Biggar-based archaeologist Tam Ward presented two very successful series of evening classes in Peebles and West Linton. The resulting popular interest led to the formation of the Peeblesshire Archaeological Society.
From the word go, the Society was keen to undertake active fieldwork and only a few months later, we started our first field project. At the suggestion of one of our founding members, the late John Nash of Castlehill, we set out to investigate the archaeology of the Manor Valley, which lies a few kilometres south-west of Peebles.
What were we hoping to achieve? After all, a classic two-volume Inventory of the ancient monuments of Peeblesshire was published in 1967 by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (hereafter RCAHMS). However, no such account can ever be wholly definitive, for it is a truism that areas of landscape almost invariably repay re-investigation when viewed with fresh eyes and in the light of changing approaches to archaeological field survey.
It therefore came as no surprise when, from the very start of the Manor Valley project, our fieldwork revealed a variety of previously unrecorded sites ranging from prehistoric cairns and burnt mounds to traces of medieval lead smelting and post-medieval sheep-farming.
After setting the scene with a brief description of the landscape, this attractive and colourful booklet goes on to describes the archaeology of what is one of Peeblesshire’s most beautiful valleys. After setting the scene with a brief description of the landscape, the writers unfold the story of its past inhabitants, from the traces left by early prehistoric hunters as they camped by the Tweed to the ruinous towers of its 16th century lairds.
The proceeds form the sale of this booklet are used to fund our current fieldwork projects.