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Tarbat Discovery Programme

Date 2007

Event ID 558122

Category Recording

Type Excavation


NH 914 839 The 2007 season consisted of 10 weeks excavation (25 June–September 2007), once again concentrated on the northern zone of Sector 2, being the area closest to the churchyard of St Colman’s Church. The area of excavation was extended 8m to the S in order to examine stone-built features beyond the terrace walls believed to be associated with a watermill.

Investigation of structures and features belonging to Period 2, the principal phase of monastic occupation, was completed and focussed on Structure 4, a stone-lined tank complex, and Structure 9, a timber building, both believed to be associated w i t h v e l l u m - w o r k ing. Structure 4 was found to have been fed by a stone-lined culvert from the NE, while Structure 9 was found to have been constructed on a platform of levelled ground and redeposited subsoils. The yard associated with Structure 9 to its S was also the subject of continued excavation, most particularly its enclosure wall. The wall was found to be coarsely bonded

sandstone with turf set on a raft of butchered animal bone.

Investigation in the southernmost part of the site consisted of the excavation of a complex of stone-built features thought previously to belong to a watermill. Investigation focussed on a large stone-lined culvert associated with a stone-built tank or stone-revetted causeway, Structure 7. These features are believed

to be associated with the large-scale management of water and the engineering of the monastic road, but not apparently belonging to a watermill. The makeup of the Period 2 monastic road was investigated in a sondage and found to have been built on a broad cambered causeway of redeposited sand subsoils.

Investigation of a group of burials in the NE corner of the area of excavation was completed, having begun in 2005 with the excavation of the central grave. Work during 2007 saw the excavation of the two flanking burials, one with a stone cist, the other without, but marked at the ground surface by an earth mound capped with sandstone slabs. The group of three graves had been placed into a shallow earthwork that showed as a ditch

containing redeposited bank material.

In addition to these early features, several features pre-dating Period 2 were identified and excavated. They were concentrated close to the wettest area of the site and appeared to be related to drainage and water collection, most notably a wicker-lined well and charcoal-lined water collector.The sequence of naturally

deposited strata was also investigated in order to test the nature of subsoil.

The project archive is currently in the care of the Department of Archaeology, University of York, the National Museums of Scotland and Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd, York. All finds are reported to the Treasure Trove Advisory Panel, and all excavated material has been awarded to the National Museums of Scotland. Data Structure Reports for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 have been deposited with the Highland HER and with

Historic Scotland, and can also be found online at

Funder: National Museums of Scotland, Historic Scotland, Ross and Cromarty Enterprise, University of York.

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