It is important to realise that archaeological excavations are not an end in themselves. Excavations are really just the gathering of archaeological evidence. This evidence needs to be analysed to make sense of what the archaeological remains mean. So the archaeological fieldwork – such as the evaluation which first discovered that there was archaeology here at Carnoustie, the monitored stripping of topsoil which revealed the extent of archaeology and the excavation which recorded the archaeological remains and recovered the archaeological arefacts – this is just the beginning of a long process of investigation.
Therefore the first thing archaeologists do once they have completed an excavation, is to prepare an interim report. This is called a Data Structure Report and provides the initial results of the fieldwork. The main purpose of this report is to provide a record of the archaeological features that have been excavated, showing where these features are and offering preliminary interpretation. The Carnoustie excavation interim report, which was completed in June 2017, is important for the subsequent specialist analyses of the finds because it shows exactly where each artefact was found and allows us to gradually build up a picture of how and when the various archaeological features were created and abandoned.