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Date May 2014

Event ID 1010779

Category Recording

Type Excavation


NJ 5483 6717 As part of the Northern Picts Project surveys and excavations have been undertaken in an area stretching from Aberdeenshire to Easter Ross targeting sites that can help contextualize the character of society in the early medieval period in northern Pictland.

In May 2014 two forts near the site of the Gaulcross Pictish hoard were targeted to provide dating for the nearest fortified sites to the hoard site. The 1960 OS assessment of the site recorded two earthen ramparts cutting off the promontory with ditches on either side of the inner rampart and an entrance causeway around 5m wide. In 2006 a plane table survey was conducted which recorded the two ramparts and an artificial ‘pond’ between the two ramparts.

The 2014 work included the excavation of trenches across the ditches on both sides of the inner rampart. Only the upper deposits were excavated due to the incredibly tenacious nature of the clay geology on the peninsula. In the inner ditch fill a charcoal horizon was found in upper fills, charred material from the ditch was dated to the Early Iron Age (Beta-381814

2550 +/- 30 BP; 785–535 cal BC 95.4%). A further trench close to the outer ditch of the inner rampart contained a posthole and narrow slot, the probable remains of a palisade. The ‘pond’ proved to be a modern feature (under the bank pieces of concrete and glass were identified). The finds suggest that the pond was dug sometime during the 20th century. A series

of smaller test pits were also excavated on the promontory. No archaeological features or deposits were found in these test pits.

Archive: University of Aberdeen

Funder: University of Aberdeen Development Trust in partnership with the Tarbat Discovery Centre

Gordon Noble and Oskar G Sveinbjarnarson – University of Aberdeen

(Source: DES)

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