There were two archaeological digs undertaken during 2016. They were both collaborations between Aberdeenshire Council, Cameron Archaeological Services Ltd and the Book of Deer Project.
The first took place at what was known as the Old Episcopalian Meeting Place, within a wooded area next to Hareshowe’s farm in Aden Park. The remains of a T shaped building were discovered and beside it a smaller building which contained a fire pit. There is speculation as to whether this is the lost Tower House of the Keith Family. More investigations need to be done to establish its true identity. Pupils from the local primary schools and Mintlaw Academy came along to help with the dig. They were also shown some finds from Aberdeenshire Council’s Archives and enjoyed a talk on the Book of Deer.
The second dig took place in the Old Deer Parish Church grounds and in Old Deer itself. Several trenches were dug in the grounds of the Parish Church, in particular in between the current church and the medieval church behind it. Trenches were also dug around the perimeter of the grounds and in several places in Old Deer including between Kemp Hall and it’s neighbours on both sides in Abbey Street. Unfortunately we are no nearer to finding the location of the Monastery. Because of the sensitive nature of the trenches in the ground of Old Deer Parish Church, no visits were arranged for the school children during this dig. Members of the general public were welcome to come along to both digs and were shown round. Rev Sheila Kirk very kindly allowed us to display information on the Book of Deer in the church itself and we had a lot of interested visitors here too. Our thanks go out to Rev Kirk and the Church Session for their help with this.