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Archaeology Notes

Event ID 855474

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Archaeology Notes


NN70SW 1 72849 01071

(NN 7284 0104) Doune Castle (NR).

OS 6" map, (1958).

Doune Castle - late 13th century. (Full history and description).

W D Simpson 1962 (Guide book).

Doune Castle is as described and illustrated by Simpson.

Visited by OS (JLD) 26 May 1953.

Foundations of a wall only 0.5m thick can be traced on the top of the slope surrounding the castle, on the east and south sides and for a short distance on the north.

A ditch with outer rampart lies to the north of the castle - two ditches on the south tend to merge with the natural/ natural undulations of the ground. A steep natural slope on the west and a steep artificial slope on the east enhance the defensive qualities of the site.

At NN 7291 0109 there is a vaulted passage, 5.5m long and 0.6m wide, running into the ground. Although traditionally a passage to the castle, it is the entrance to an ice-house, used in the mid-18th century but now sealed. (Information from the Custodian, Doune Castle). South of the castle and beyond the earthworks, an area of disturbed ground, centred on NN 7286 0090, contains the slight grass-covered remains of enclosures and possible buildings, and amorphous remains of other possible enclosures and buildings, associated with the castle (Information from the Custodian, Doune Castle).

Revised at 1/2500.

A watching brief was undertaken during the resurfacing of the access road at Doune Castle. An overall length of 18m of drainage trench was excavated to a depth of 30cm. No finds or features of archaeological interest were made.

Sponsor: Central Regional Council

L Main and W Anderson 1989.

Excavations were carried out in 1986 by J Cannell on behalf of Historic Scotland at three locations within and adjacent to Doune Castle.

It was proposed to lay out a new visitors car park on marshy ground 250m N of the castle. A watching brief was undertaken while machines dug two drainage trenches across the E of the area which proved to be archaeologically sterile.

An area 3m NS by 5m EW, in the NE corner of the courtyard between the ruined E range and the gatehouse, was cleared of modern debris. A disturbed cobbled surface was provided with a shallow drain through its entrance into the courtyard. The area may be the remains of a small stable block.

The circular vault of the NE tower within the gatehouse has been long identified as a well chamber. Excavations inside the vault exposed the massive stone foundations of the tower. A central pit filled with dumped burnt material measured 1.65m diameter at the surface, narrowed sharply. Undoubtedly not a well, the pit may have held a large post used in the construction of the tower.

Sponsor : SDD-HBM

J Cannell 1986.

NN 7285 0107 The clearance of loose material in each of the window embrasures and mural chambers off the second-floor hall took place in January 1998. The debris in question proved to be general detritus, dust and rubbish which had accumulated since the abandonment of the castle, but which pre-dated the extensive late 19th-century restoration works enacted on the lower floors and adjacent structures. Within the window embrasure located in the N wall was evidence of a resurfacing or patching which utilised broken floor tile and compacted, clay-rich silt. These rather crude repairs pre-dated the restoration works and possibly reflect late medieval occupation.

A further watching brief was carried out in January and February 1998 to examine and record a number of slit trenches cut into the soil and gravel embankment W of the Kitchen Tower. The embankment comprises mortar-rich gravel covered by a damp earth deposit.

A total of 13 trenches were cut. The SW corner of the tower foundations were found, comprising irregularly shaped flat slabs of local red sandstone, with three courses (240mm) visible, and extending for 600mm beyond the visible wall face. The remaining trenches revealed the make-up of the embankment, and traces of the natural slope which had been enhanced to form it.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

G Ewart and D Stewart 1998

NN 7285 0107 Watching briefs were maintained at two sites in the vicinity of Doune Castle during the Forth Valley Sewer Renewal Project. The areas affected were the driveway leading southwards to the castle itself, and an area to the W of Doune Fire Station, in the vicinity of the Roman fort discovered in 1984 by aerial reconnaissance.

The four trenches revealed recently disturbed horizons associated with the fitting of the earlier sewer, although the southernmost trench, nearest the castle, revealed possible evidence for a denuded earthen bank or platform.

A single trench of c 150m length was excavated to the W of the fire station, along the top of a steep slope down to a small tributary of the River Teith. Nothing of archaeological significance was revealed, and the site of the Roman fort was not affected. The slope was demonstrated to be a natural profile, with some recent landscaping associated with the construction of the modern housing scheme to the E.

Sponsor: East of Scotland Water.

G Ewart and A Dunn 1999

NN 7285 0107 A watching brief was carried out over a period of two days in March 1999, while Historic Scotland staff excavated a shallow trench against the N side of the inner courtyard in order to construct a footpath of grass bars. On removing the turf and topsoil it became clear that a cobbled surface survived beneath the current turf in this part of the courtyard.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewart 1999

NN 7265 0142 An archaeological watching brief was carried out during the excavation of a trench to facilitate the installation of a power cable to a nearby sewage pumping station. The trench lay within the Scheduled area around Doune Castle. During the watching brief no archaeological features were noted, and no artefacts were recovered.

Sponsor: Scottish Hydro-Electric plc.

A Duffy 1999

NN 7285 0107 A watching brief was carried out during the excavation of a shallow trench in the N part of the castle courtyard (NMRS NN70SW 1), in order to create a track for a paved footpath. Up to 150mm of turf and topsoil within the zone of the new footpath was removed, exposing the tops of cobble stones across the entire area. Following this initial clearance the cobbles were cleaned and recorded. Features of interest included occasional remnants of a surface drain original to the cobbled surface, and which drained the courtyard on its N side. The shallow drain was made of red sandstone slabs edge-to-edge positioned 2m S of the inner face of the N wall and running E-W towards the courtyard entrance. The drain could only be seen within the excavated area at the base of the NE stair and at the entrance to the vault below the NW external stair. It was clear that both the external stairs are late additions to the fabric of the castle and that they have been built over or have superseded the cobbling of the courtyard. The E-W drain disappears into the fabric of the stair at the entrance to the W vault. An area measuring some 32m2 has now been opened up along the N side of the courtyard, in most of which the (possibly original) cobbling of the castle courtyard is intact.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewart 2000

NN 7285 0107 A watching brief was undertaken in February 2001 at Doune Castle (NMRS NN70SW 1) while a trench was cut for a freshwater pipe to serve the new toilet opposite the castle car park. The work took place on the edge of the steep high slope, potentially the site of a defensive structure.

No man-made structural elements could be seen associated with any part of the trenching. There were no finds.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Stewart and G Ewart 2001

NN 728 010 Five trenches were excavated in September 2002 within and around a building against the E curtain wall of the castle. Several earlier wall remains were found, relating to walls shown on an earlier plan of the site, though there were some differences in detail. The continuation of the W wall to the S was confirmed, as was the presence of a central dividing wall. A small alcove built in against the S wall proved to be a substantial structure, and use as a kiln or oven was suggested. A trench against the curtain wall revealed either a thickening of the wall or further buildings.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: HS

G Ewart 2003

NN 7280 0115 A watching brief was undertaken on 16 May 2006 during the excavation of eight holes for signposts around Doune Castle. The holes were excavated to a maximum width of 0.4 x 1m deep.

No archaeological deposits were encountered and no artefacts recovered.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Stirling Council.

Lorna Main, 2006.

Scheduled as 'Doune Castle, [including] its defences and earthworks.'

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 26 April 2011.

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