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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 822290

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NH52NW 3 Centred on NH 53095 28647

For bronze axes from Urquhart Castle, see NH52NW 7.

(NH 5305 2860) Urquhart Castle (NR) (Ruins) Drawbridge (NR) (Remains of) Fosse (NR)

OS 6" map, Inverness-shire, 2nd ed., (1905)

For full description see DoE guide 'Urquhart Castle'.

W D Simpson 1964

A portion of a penannular brooch of c.9th century date from Urquhart Castle is in the NMAS.

Information from C W Phillips

Urquhart Castle is as described and planned by DoE.

Visited by OS (R L) 11 Feburary 1970.

NH 530 286 An archaeological evaluation comprising geophysical survey and trial trenching was undertaken by Headland Archaeology Ltd between the moat and the A82 at Urquhart Castle. The evaluation was designed to investigate the impact of a proposed new visitor centre and car park on any preserved archaeological deposits. The geophysical surveys were undertaken by Archaeological Services WYAS.

The resistivity survey identified a large low resistance linear anomaly running E-W for c 35m and ending abruptly 140m W of the castle moat. A trench was cut across the anomaly and a large medieval clay-lined ditch was identified which measured 9m wide and 2.5m deep. Fragments of pottery dating from between the 13th and 15th centuries were found in the secondary fill, together with a number of medieval iron objects, a circular sharpening stone, a crucible fragment and burnt animal bone. An Early Modern bayonet was also recovered adjacent to the ditch although this is not believed to be associated with the feature. With the exception of one modern ditch no further archaeological features were identified in trial trenches.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

C Moloney 1997

NH 530 286 An excavation was undertaken during August and September 1999 in the field below the present car park, W of the castle, in advance of the construction of a new car park and visitor centre. The aim was to investigate a possible ditch discovered during an evaluation carried out in 1997 (DES 1997, 52). The ditch turned out to be a large pit, possibly resulting from quarrying. The fill of the pit contained layers consisting of midden deposits containing medieval pottery, animal bone and possible metalworking debris including lead. The upper layers contained large amounts of stones possibly from field clearance. A rubble drain ran into the pit from the SW. To the NW of the pit was a rough cobbled surface which may relate to buildings or workshops. (GUARD 769.2).

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

R Will 1999

NH 530 286 During the major earth-moving operations for the construction of the visitor centre and the car park at Urquhart Castle (NMRS NH52NW 3), the watching brief encountered several previously unknown archaeological remains. A burnt mound lay on the NE slope opposite the castle and was fully excavated. In addition, there were two stone structures on the slope by the former access path to the castle. These were clay-lined and designed to hold water, and appeared to be tanks for water from the natural springs. Both had sluice gates to allow the release of water, and there may have been a connection between these features and a large pit discovered in 1999. Both were fully excavated. Pieces of preserved wood were recovered, including the lining for a channel from one of the structures and a small section of a wooden bowl. (GUARD 769.1).

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

J Duncan 2000

NH 5305 2860 During the construction of the visitor centre at Urquhart Castle, the remains of a timber structure were uncovered. Excavation in May 2000 revealed a timber building measuring 20 x 7m. The building was defined by substantial wall slots, with a central line of posts. Rather than a single large hall, the building appeared to divide into two parts, one substantial and possibly domestic, the other possibly with an open side and used as a workshop. A large number of artefacts and fragments of burnt bone were recovered during the excavation. The artefacts suggest a date between the 13th and 15th centuries, with one pottery sherd indicating a late 15th-century date. (GUARD 769.3).

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

I Banks 2000

NH 5305 2860 The continuation of archaeological monitoring of ground disturbance works during the construction of the visitor centre and the car park at Urquhart Castle (NMRS NH52NW 3) revealed evidence of potentially medieval landscaping immediately to the N of the drawbridge area outside the castle (see DES 2000, 57).

An evaluation demonstrated that large quantities of the material had been moved to create a probable raised access way to the castle. In addition, midden materials were encountered which contained quantities of bone, botanical remains and a number of artefacts. (GUARD 769.1).

Archaeological monitoring was undertaken during the construction of new paths within the castle, and the erection of scaffolding around the drawbridge. No archaeological features or finds were encountered.

Test pitting and trial trenching within the ditch surrounding the castle was undertaken to assess the ditch profile prior to disturbance and alterations caused by the building of stone walls and paths undertaken in the early 20th century. The resultant data was utilised during a phase of landscaping of the ditch to restore the pre-alteration profile.

An evaluation was undertaken to investigate the stone-built kiln situated within the northern area of the large ditch surrounding the landward side of the castle. The external entrance of the arched flue was discovered. (GUARD 769.4, 769.6, 769.7).

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

J Duncan 2001

NH 5305 2860 A watching brief was undertaken in September 2000 during the excavation of two 500mm square exploratory holes for structural engineers at Urquhart Castle. Both holes were against the external (N) face of the 'East Drum' (the NE tower of the gatehouse). The tower proved to have very shallow foundations, based on a thin level of stone and mortar debris, over a thicker deposit of anthropogenic orange clay. No finds were recovered.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewarrt and G Ewart 2001

NH 530 286 Archaeological monitoring was undertaken in May 2003 while work was carried out on a short stretch of footpath. No features or finds were discovered.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart 2003

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