City’s hidden past other recent digs...

SCIENTIFIC equipment dating back to the 18th century, and believed to have been owned by a leading Enlightenment figure, was uncovered in June this year in an archaeological dig, right, at the University of Edinburgh.

The items uncovered included laboratory apparatus and brightly coloured chemicals, which were almost certainly the property of Joseph Black, a professor of chemistry best known for his discovery of carbon dioxide gas.

Also included in the discovery were samples of mercury, arsenic and cobalt, together with glass tubes and other vessels, bottle stoppers, thermometers, storage jars, and ceramic distillation apparatus made by Josiah Wedgwood.

THE remains of the historic salt works at Joppa were uncovered in February after the wall around them was destroyed in a storm.

Most of the former industrial site was demolished around 1960, but underground brick tunnels remain hidden beneath a grass-covered area.

When fierce storms buffeted the coastline last March, the sea wall at the north-west corner of the site was damaged and archaeologists were brought in to examine and remove part of the underground brickworks.

The area was used for salt production from 1630 until 1953. The part which was excavated is thought to be one of the last to be constructed, dating from the 19th century.

DECAPITATED skeletons and 2000-year-old forts were uncovered at the site of a new health centre in Musselburgh by archaeologists in October last year, left.


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The Roman remains discovered included human remains, the bones of horses and weapons and culinary tools. Archaeologists said the “unique” finds were among the most impressive ever discovered in Scotland from that period and would help build a picture not only of Roman activity in Musselburgh from 140AD, but improve the wider understanding of life at that time. As well as the skeletons, also discovered were impressive sections of rampart, thought to be part of a defensive wall for a fortlet.

HUMAN remains dating from medieval times were unearthed by archaeologists working alongside the tram route in Leith in May 2009.

Excavations took place near the South Leith Parish Church graveyard on Constitution Street after being identified as a site of special historical significance. Constitution Street was singled out by the city council’s archaeologist right from the beginning of the trams project as a highly sensitive archaeological zone, because of its proximity to the early medieval core of Leith and the later 16th and 17th-century town defences.


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Archaeologists found new sections of the defences, as well as unexpectedly uncovering burials below the street.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS digging at a derelict plot between Jeffrey Street and the Royal Mile in June 2008 unearthed artefacts from medieval Edinburgh.

It was suspected that the site could have contained “significant remains”, leading to experts from Headland Archaeology taking up the ten-week dig.

Foundations of cellars from the 17th and 18th century were amongst the finds uncovered by the archaeologists.