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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 709934

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NT07NW 9.00 00196 77325

(NT 0020 7734) Linlithgow Palace (NR) (Rems of)

(NT 0022 7744) Bow Butts (NR)

OS 6" map, (1958).

NT07NW 9.01 NT 00196 77279 Gateway

NT07NW 9.02 NT 00166 77272 Lodge

NT07NW 9.03 NT 00209 77326 Royal Chapel

NT07NW 9.04 centred NT 0035 7735 The Peel - trial excavation; buildings; fort (possible)

NT07NW 9.05 NT 00464 77422 Pond

NT07NW 9.06 NT 00201 77347 Fountain

Linlithgow Palace - fully described, planned and illustrated in DoE official guide.

J S Richardson and J Beveridge 1948.

Excavations were carried out between November 1966 and February 1967 by the DoE in the sector of the Peel which lies W of the Kirkgate, before the area was built on. It was hoped to discover the nature and position of the peel of Edward I, but the results were disappointing. A good stratified sequence of 13th - 17th century pottery was obtained, however. The principally medieval finds of pottery, etc, which have been made during the last century or so, and are in Linlithgow Palace Museum, are described by L R Laing 1971.

L R Laing 1968; 1971.

As described.

Visited by OS(BS) 21 March 1974.

Excavation of a 15th century cellar took place in advance of refurbishment. Shortly after construction, a mortar floor was laid in the cellar, followed by the insertion of two parallel NS lines of wooden posts, of uncertain function, along the length of the room. At about the same time a low stone platform was built against the W and N walls. The posts and floor were superceded towards the end of the 17th century by a thick layer of redeposited midden on which was laid a stone flagged and cobbled floor.

J Cannell 1987.

The palace and surrounding buildings are visible on vertical air photographs (OS 73/399/296, flown 1973).

Information from RCAHMS (DE) January 1997

NT 0029 7732 and NT 0027 7735 Approximately 60m SE of the palace, aligned NW-SE and against the upper edge of the slope down, is a rectangular stone foundation, 10 x 6m, partly covered by turf. There are three possible artificial terraces, 30m E of the entrance to the palace, in the slope down to the flat ground on the S side of the loch.

C A-Kelly 1997

NT 0020 7734 In January 1999, a watching brief was conducted on the excavation of trenches for floodlighting cables and uplighting floodlights at Linlithgow Palace. The trenches, which were positioned along the N and W walls of the palace, were excavated manually by the contractors employed to install the lighting. All trenches were excavated under the supervision of an archaeologist and were approximately 0.3m wide and 0.3m deep. On the W side of the palace the nature of the trench varied. Towards the N of the trench were midden deposits containing shells (predominantly oyster), animal bone and eroded sandstone. Excavation of the northern trench revealed further midden deposits containing more oyster shells, animal bone, eroded masonry, post-medieval pottery and some fragments of window glass. This deposit appears to represent the last phases of occupation at the palace and presumably overlies a considerable depth of midden material.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, West Lothian Council.

L H Johnstone 1999

NT 0015 7727 A slight scarp extends W for 32m from the SW corner of the palace, towards a number of irregular slight hollows around 7m in overall width. There is a straight-sided hollow 15m from the NW corner of the palace and along the top of the slope; it is 9m long by 3m wide. For around 26m beyond that, the top of the slope is noticeably ragged. These may be the remains of the palace garden.

C A-Kelly 2000

NT 0020 7734 Archaeological monitoring was required in August 2000 during the excavation of a trench for a new tree. The site was to the E of St Michael's Church, on a terraced area believed to contain a 15th-century access route leading up to the E side of Linlithgow Palace. The hole for the tree was dug wide enough and deep enough to allow a clear view of any sub-surface features that might be found within the area of the excavation.

The excavation did not find any definitive evidence of a substantial road or track. The layers exposed comprised modern topsoil landscaping sealing a 19th-century footpath, which in turn lay over a thick layer of sandy subsoil. Presumably the access route to the James I entrance on the E side of the palace would have been a reasonably solid structure reflecting the importance of the site. No such structure was either seen or indicated by the evidence from this minor excavation. Either the route lies further E, nearer the edge of the terrace, or the road has been landscaped away or possibly buried under later levelling material.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewart 2000

NT 0020 7734 A watching brief was undertaken in January 2001 during the excavation of a service trench at Linlithgow Palace (NMRS NT07NW 9), running from the W side of the palace, some 7.9m N of it's SW corner, to an existing pipe running parallel to the W wall. The W range of the palace is thought to have been completed by 1504, and to have had formal gardens to the W.

The small area of this trench necessarily limited what could be determined from this excavation. At a depth of 450mm, a soil deposit banked up against the palace wall. This deposit may well relate to the formal gardens recorded from the area.

A further watching brief was undertaken in June 2001 during the excavation of two trenches.

Trench 1 was excavated in advance of a commemorative tree planting. The trench lay on the enhanced natural terrace which defines the S side of 'The Peel' - the area of parkland which extends to the W and SW of the palace. It is likely that the terrace formed part of the access route to the main entrance to the palace (in its W range).

There was no trace of the approach road to the palace. It appears that the profile of the terrace is either largely natural, or represents the importation of a massive amount of redeposited natural sandy soils, as part of a major landscaping programme of the natural slope S of the loch. In either case, the soils revealed to a depth of 1m were essentially clean mixtures of sandy gravelly silt with water-washed stones throughout.

Trench 2 involved the removal of a series of crude wooden steps, where a shallow trench was cleared to receive new steps. The steps run from a platform at the head of a shallow harbour, next to a boatshed, up a prominent linear earthwork which lies on the W side of the harbour.

The shoreline of the loch which lies to the N of the Palace Peel is currently adapted for pleasure craft access, anchorage and beaching, centred generally around the small harbour. The creation of the latter has clearly rationalised the natural loch side as well as any residual earthworks. The excavation did not shed any light on the date of the bank but showed at least that it was not modern. The upper fabric of the bank was also not a natural deposit scarped to form the bank; rather it was a deliberate dump of material. There was no sign of any revetting deposit other than the present turf line, but this appears to have been levelled off, giving the bank its rather flattened top surface.

The bank appears to be either part of some sort of truncated artillery work or some early jetty/wharf arrangement, in association with a similar N-S aligned bank lying some 25m further W.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

G Ewart 2001

NT 002 773 A small excavation was undertaken in August 2002 to assess the potential damage to archaeologically significant deposits during the erection of two bollards to the W of the main entrance to the Palace. Two trenches were excavated to a depth of 750mm. It was shown that excavation below 450mm is likely to disturb significant archaeological remains.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart 2002

NT 002 773 As part of a proposal for establishing a new shoreline path, a walkover survey was completed in December 2002 on part of the loch side to the W of the Palace. The aim of the survey was to estimate the depth of water at the edge of the loch and to characterise present land-use by the shore. It was noted that backlots/burgage plots behind (N of) the W end of the High Street extend right to the edge of the present loch side. This may indicate that the loch level has risen and the loch area expanded in the generally shallow water at the W side of the loch. It seems likely that archaeological deposits have been submerged by the present shore line.

NT 002 773 Car park. Archaeological monitoring was undertaken in March 2003 during the excavation of a small trench for the erection of a cycle rack near the SW corner of the car park. The only feature of any archaeological significance was a wall of uncertain date orientated towards the middle of what is now the Park Constabulary┬┐s office, to the SW corner of the Palace. It possibly acted as a boundary wall for the gardens thought to have lain on the W side of the Palace.

NT 002 773 Well. Archaeological monitoring was undertaken in March 2003 during the excavation of a shallow track in the basement chamber of the NE corner of the Palace. This showed that the footings for the well projected some 250mm out beyond the limit of the well and were built with off-white sandstone. Nothing else of archaeological significance was noted.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart 2003

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