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Watching Brief

Date 8 December 2008 - 14 May 2009

Event ID 609203

Category Recording

Type Watching Brief


HU 398 095 (centred on) Watching briefs were maintained during minor excavations between 8 December 2008 and 14 May 2009, as part of an ongoing programme to alter and enhance visitor access routes, and replace stone steps with ramps.

In December 2008 two sets of steps were removed at entrances to the Iron Age structures to the W of the 17th-century Old House, and another set was removed from the steep bank above and W of the earlier structures at the SE corner of the site. No deposits other than modern landscaping and access structures were excavated. A surface encountered below the steps at the W end of the entrance to the earthhouse may represent a previously undisturbed prehistoric horizon, containing bone and charcoal fragments. However, it seemed more likely to be the result of modern landscaping, perhaps using midden material and spoil from previous excavations.

In January 2009 an area of collapsed dry stone wall where the far W end of the Iron Age structures meet the southern limit of the site near the sea wall was examined. The reconstruction of this area of the wall was then monitored.

In February 2009 minor excavations were carried out as part of the programme to alter visitor access. This work consisted of an excavation along the W side of the visitor centre, removing landscaping deposits from a raised platform. A strip of turf just S of this, near the sea wall, was also removed. To allow access to the site from the N of the visitor centre, a wire fence was taken down and the removal of two fence posts was monitored. Prior to these works a small area of dry stone wall had collapsed, towards the N end of what are thought to be medieval structures to the NE of the Old House. A brief examination and photographic record were made of the affected area before remedial work. No finds or features of archaeological significance were recorded.

In May 2009 turf was removed from three structures around the courtyard of the 16th-century laird’s house. A small area of turf forming an ‘island’ in the gravel path just to the NE of these structures was also removed. A wooden viewing platform towards the SE limit of the site had been removed, and the removal of the bases for the platform was monitored. There were no finds or features of major archaeological significance, and the surfaces revealed in the three ‘rooms’ around the courtyard appeared to be redeposited material from excavations carried out in the late 19th and/or early 20th century.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

Andrew Hollinrake – Kirkdale Archaeology

OASIS ID - kirkdale1-249682

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