Kinneil House in Bo’ness, just outside Falkirk, is not only a striking 16th- to 17th-century structure, once the principal seat of the wealthy Hamilton family: its estate preserves a rich historic landscape that is also home to a stretch of the Antonine Wall and the only visible example of an Antonine Wall fortlet, as well as the workshop where James Watt perfected the steam engine.
Over the summer, archaeology students descended on Kilmartin, Argyll, to record the numerous examples of prehistoric rock art found in the Glen. Trained by staff from Edinburgh University and the Scotland’s Rock Art Project (ScRAP) team, and supported by the Kilmartin Museum, the students noted the location, orientation, scale, and various other notable characteristics of each carving, as well as creating 3D models using photogrammetry techniques (pictured above).
A community project at Thusater Burn near Thurso – the most northerly town of mainland Scotland – has revealed possible evidence of far earlier occupation of the area. Traces of what is thought to represent an Iron Age settlement were uncovered during an event organised by the Caithness Broch Project – a charity that aims to promote and preserve archaeological sites in Caithness by training the public in fieldwalking, geophysical survey, and excavation techniques (see CA 322).
It remains one of the biggest archaeological mysteries: why do so many hillforts, particularly across Scotland, appear to have undergone a significant burning event that caused their stone walls to melt and ultimately fuse (see CA 133)? Was it done deliberately, either during an attack or as a ceremonial act, or was it accidental? One of these ‘vitrified’ forts, Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, was recently excavated over the course of a three-year project funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Nevis Landscape Partnership. This Iron Age hillfort was built in the middle of the 1st millennium BC, around 2,500 years ago, and was eventually destroyed in a catastrophic fire. Now excavations have shed light on its construction, occupation, and destruction.
Excavations at Caochanan Ruadha, a previously identified Mesolithic site in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands, have revealed evidence of a possible small structure surrounding a central hearth – an intriguing find, as the identification of Mesolithic buildings is quite rare. The dig was part of the first phase of the Upper Dee Tributaries Project (UDTP), through which an interdisciplinary team from institutions across the UK and Ireland is exploring the early prehistory of Mar Lodge Estate – owned and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland.
Perched on a peninsula in the heart of the Orkney archipelago, the Ness of Brodgar is a truly remarkable site. Long-running excavations there are bringing a wealth of discoveries to light, illuminating the life and death of a sophisticated Neolithic community (see CA 335).
Recent excavations in a field near the ruins of Deer Abbey in Aberdeenshire have provided the most compelling evidence so far for the remains of the monastery where the 10th-century Book of Deer may have been written and illuminated.
The Battle Hill Prehistoric Landscape Project is the 20th season of a long-term, relaxed and open series of research and training excavations into Prehistoric Aberdeenshire. The project has to date produced over 12 publications and Dr Murray Cook’s PhD. This season will focus on a newly discovered Pictish Fort, a Neolithic Cairn and medieval structure. […]
In April, a survey was conducted on the 1,800 gravestones in Dundee Howff cemetery by the Dundee Howff Conservation Group, aided by archaeologist Dr Oliver O’Grady of OJT Heritage. The aim was to create a detailed map of the site and to research the origins of some of the headstones, as well as the generations […]
Silver was introduced to the inhabitants of Iron Age Scotland by the Roman army. An exhibition currently running in Edinburgh reveals the impact of this exotic material throughout the 1st millennium AD – as Alice Blackwell explains.