To mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, the Society is undertaking an excavation of the Dark Age stronghold at Trusty’s Hill just outside Gatehouse of Fleet, between 19th May and 2nd June this year.
Trusty’s Hill is conspicuous amongst the hillforts of Galloway for the Pictish symbols, comprising a double disc and Z-rod and a ‘fish monster’ and ‘sword’, carved on an exposed face of bedrock at the entrance to the fort. What has intrigued archaeologists is that the stone dates from the first millennium AD when south-west Scotland was inhabited by people usually perceived to be Britons; not Picts or Scots. The Pictish symbol stone at Trusty’s Hill is unique in Galloway and potentially represents crucial evidence for the early cross-cultural exchanges that forged Dark Ages Northern Britain and led to the emergence of the Kingdom of Scotland.
An excavation of this site was done in 1960 but did not recover the archaeological evidence that could now be used to date the occupation and destruction of the fort, the status of its inhabitants or to explicitly link the occupation of the fort with the carvings. The principle objective of the new excavation is therefore to recover archaeological evidence from Trusty’s Hill and subject this to modern analysis to better understand the site in the context of the first millennium AD, when Scotland was emerging as a distinct country within the British Isles.
The excavation of Trusty’s Hill is a rare opportunity to make a real difference to understanding past identities in Galloway and the formation of national identity in Scotland during the first millennium AD.
Excavation will begin on 20th May and continue until Saturday 2nd June.
For further information and how to get involved check out the dedicated website at: gallowaypicts.com