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8.4.6 Water Supply

Aberdeen Carmelite friary was supplied with running water from the end of the 13th century. A series of lead pipes were laid in Phase 4, a short time before the start of the construction of the stone church. This supply may have fed water from a spring or well in the Green to an unknown location, possibly at the south of the site. It is thought that the most southerly building found during this excavation, JAB/JBA, was also one of the earliest, and this water may therefore have been used during the construction and use of this building.

A further instalment of lead pipe took place during the construction of the church. It was channelled through carefully constructed conduits in both the south and north walls and had been built into a small portion of wall (JDX/AGN), where the west range of the friary attached on to the church. It is thought that this portion of wall, with its housing for the lead pipe, was constructed in Phase 5a, even thought the west range did not appear to have been started for several decades after that date. A nearly complete copper alloy tap [930] and part of a trefoil tap handle [931] were found in the area of the West Range. Presumably these were associated with the elaborate water supply to the friary, the earliest water supply so far known in Aberdeen.

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West of the west range buildings, drains would have taken the waste and excess water away from the friary. A drain, AHC, in the west wall of the West Range [Photo 0200], and a complex of ditches (ADU/ADT and stone-lined features (JEC/ADH) probably fed waste away from the friary to the lower ground south of the excavated area, possibly into a nearby watercourse such as the Denburn. Unfortunately this area was at the edge available for excavation, and was not fully investigated.


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