We recently completed an archaeological dig of the former site of the Botanic Cottage on Leith Walk, and it was wonderful to be able to see the past being uncovered. A fantastic group of volunteers took part in the dig, supporting professional archaeologists from Addyman Archaeology as they revealed the foundations of the cottage and made sure that a thorough record of the site was made for future generations. Whilst working on the site they found one of the original hearth stones from a fireplace in the cottage, curved cobblestones along the front of the building, fragments of pottery and even what is thought to be a medieval gaming piece, which probably got transported across the city in a cart of soil.
Over the centuries the level of Leith Walk was raised the equivalent of one storey, meaning that the ground floor of the Botanic Cottage had been obscured, and as we discovered, so had a large section of the original garden wall which still stood in tact on the site. The outline of one of the original doors into the garden was still visible on the wall, which was amazing to see.
At the same time as the dig of the cottage site, archaeologists also worked on other parts of the adjacent land which once made up part of the late 18th century incarnation of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, revealing a well, drains, copious amounts of broken terracotta pots, the sole of a 19th century shoe, a beatifully carved clay pipe and much more.
There’ll be more information in due course about what was found, so look out for future posts!
Many thanks to everyone who made the dig possible!