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Archaeology Notes

Date October 2014

Event ID 1013494

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1013494

NH 32509 31008 Post-excavation analysis was undertaken in October 2014. The excavations revealed that Comar Wood Dun had been constructed during the second half of the 1st millennium BC. Evidence for two burning events was uncovered, after both of which the site was rebuilt and reused for several centuries before abandonment. Posthole alignments in the entrance passage and interior courtyard showed evidence for the construction of timber structures inside both areas. Other structural evidence uncovered included later interior walling used to constrict the courtyard space and two successive central slab-built hearths, the last of which contained broken quern fragments. Opposite the

dun entrance on the W side, was an entrance recess through the outer enclosure wall, while on the E side of the dun evidence for an opposing entrance passage was uncovered.

The poorly constructed walls revealed inconclusive evidence for intramural gallery spaces and only a small amount of artefactual material was recovered. The results of both the faunal and palaeoenvironmental

assessments revealed the use of local woodland resources and the presence of domesticated livestock on the site. Oak appears to have been the main timber used for internal structural support posts, while birch and hazel were also probably utilised for structural purposes. Analysis of the small finds, which included no ceramics, concluded that although many of the items could be associated with manufacturing activities, the scarcity of material recovered could reflect limited occupation of the site, possibly suggesting it had a specific non-domestic use.

The chronology for the dun use falls within a period of c600 years, and evidence for various phases is demonstrated by the sequence of radiocarbon dates falling in the Middle to Late Iron Age. Analysis of the dates suggests that occupation may have taken place during two distinct periods in the Iron Age: the 4th–2nd centuries BC and 1st–3rd centuries AD. Interestingly, the only evidence for earlier occupation or activity is a Mesolithic date derived from pine charcoal, probably the result of forest

clearance.

Although poorly built walling and significant tree root disturbance caused difficulty for excavation, the results of this keyhole evaluation have provided useful dating information and have expanded the understanding of this site type.

Report: Highland HER, OASIS and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Forestry Commission Scotland

Mary Peteranna, Steven Birch, Lynn Fraser – Ross and Cromarty

Archaeological Services

(Source: DES)

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References