Fieldwalking has been conducted at all the sites with a view to detecting areas with a greater concentration of artefacts. This was developed further around Gännätä Maryam, where Brian Clark carried out shovel tests over a wide area, given the shallowness of the soil and lack of stratigraphy due to erosion and ploughing.
In 2013 we conducted a brief rescue dig on the outer compound (the ‘platform’) at Gännätä Maryam church, where human bones were found eroding out of a cut made in the hillside in preparation for building a retaining wall. Because of time constraints we decided to put in three 1 x 1 m test pits at the points most at risk. Two skeletons were found, recorded and lifted in accordance with Museum of London Archaeology and English Heritage guidelines.
We conducted further work at this newly found cemetery in 2014, when we surveyed and plotted the area more thoroughly and identified numerous unmarked burials that were being damaged by trampling. Four were thoroughly excavated, plus one niche grave in a rock wall, but work was hindered by bureaucratic problems.
In 2017 we started to work on burials within the inner church compound. We had just started to excavate when we were obliged to stop work and backfill the graves. The planned work had to be postponed.
After lengthy negotiations, the team was welcomed back to Gännätä Maryam in January 2020 in order to plan further fieldwork there in May. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic prevented further work this year. We plan to resume as soon as it is safe to do so, hopefully in 2021.