The broch’s artist in residence, Julia Cowie, ran a fascinating session at Stoer Green last weekend, as part of the Highland Archaeology Festival, showing us her metal working process. She demonstrated how she smelts copper, by wrapping ore in ‘smelt balls’ made of clay, sand and horse dung fibre, and roasting it in a charcoal fire pit.
She also invited us to take part in designing a community sculpture, by carving images into wax discs. Julia will use these to create moulds for bronzes, which will be pinned into a rock at the shore below the broch. While people whittled and the copper smelt balls cooked, Mandy Haggith read metal-working scenes from her novel set at the broch in the Iron Age, The Walrus Mutterer.
Meanwhile the archaeologists are working away in the laboratory, conserving and examining the many bags and buckets of finds they took away from the excavation. The final event of the year’s activities at the broch will be a talk by AOC archaeologists at Stoer Hall, on Wednesday 14 November at 7.30pm. Come along to hear their latest research results, including carbon dates, to see some of the cleaned and conserved finds, and to ask questions about what they have found and concluded so far.
The next stage of Julia’s process will be bronze casting, which will happen on the afternoon and evening of Friday 16 November at the pole barn at Glencanisp. This will also be the 20th anniversary of Historic Assynt, so come along and hear Gordon Sleight’s summary of the highlights of what has been achieved over the past two decades. He’ll be doing a slide show in the studio at 7pm. Refreshments will be available and all are welcome.