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Excavation

Date 1999

Event ID 1002715

Category Recording

Type Excavation

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1002715

NY 027 654 Following on from the 1998 fieldwork (Brann 1998), a further four weeks excavation was undertaken in June and July 1999. All remaining baulks and unexcavated areas within the curtain wall were excavated. Excavation down to the metalling of the courtyard revealed a raised cobbled pathway running diagonally across the courtyard, leading from the postulated castle entrance to the foot of the external stair of the chamber block. The established dating and the structural sequence of the castle put forward in the 1998 report was not contradicted by the 1999 excavations. However, further excavation in the interior of the hall revealed the corner post-holes and shallow wall trenches (?sill beam slots) of a substantial, rectilinear timber building. This building demonstrably pre-dates the Phase 3 stone-built hall and the metalling of the courtyard, which was left in situ, but its relationship to the Phase 1 chamber block is not known. The presence of another timber building, sited in the N corner of the castle enceinte, was also confirmed. The relative date of construction of this timber building, evidenced by four large padstones, is also unknown, but the rough metalling of the courtyard respected its footprint. Excavation of smithing deposits in the courtyard, presumed to post-date the abandonment of the castle, produced much slag and furnace fragments.

In addition to work on the castle platform, a trial trench across the moat was opened up on the presumed line of the bridge to relocate the timber bridge footing found in 1978. Excavation of 0.4_0.6m of silt exposed the flat-bottomed clay base of the ditch. A single timber sole-plate for the bridge was found embedded in the clay near the foot of the castle platform scarp.

Archaeomagnetic dating of two areas of burnt clay within the structure interpreted as a hall indicated the last firing was in the ranges AD 1250-75 and 1250-1310.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

M L Brann 1999

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References