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Watching Brief

Date 15 February 2010 - 28 February 2010

Event ID 880019

Category Recording

Type Watching Brief


NH 6643 4559 A watching brief was undertaken 15–28

February 2010 at Chapel St, Inverness, prior to a proposed

extension to an undertaker’s premises. The graveyard to the

SW of the development is a scheduled monument. It was

the site of the medieval Blackfriars, believed to have been

demolished by Oliver Cromwell in the mid-17th century. The

Ordnance Survey visited in April 1960 and found that ‘all

that remains of the Black Friars’ Monastery is an octagonal

column of ashlar masonry 0.7m in diameter with the remains

of the springing of an arch 2.4m above ground level. The

total height of the column is c3.5m’.

The scheduled area includes the site boundary wall and

as no archaeological investigation has been carried out there

the original site limit is unknown. Historic Scotland was

consulted and care was taken to keep excavations back from

the wall, which was not affected.

The footprint of the new building was machine excavated

in two spits to the first soil change below the surface

material. There was a considerable depth of topsoil over

the whole area, which had been disturbed repeatedly and

included 19th- and 20th-century bottles and disarticulated

animal bones (horse). In the centre of the site, the base

of one rectangular feature was noted in the subsoil at a

depth of c50mm. This feature contained the same topsoil as

elsewhere, could not be identified within the topsoil level

and contained no datable artefacts. It was interpreted as a

modern pit.

Following the clearance of topsoil and overburden

to a depth of c1m an inspection was undertaken of the

foundation trenches, which had been dug a further c0.3m

into the subsoil. Despite the disturbance it was clear that

the natural subsoil had been reached throughout and there

was no evidence that this area had been part of the Friary

complex. No significant archaeological features or artefacts

were recorded.

Archive: Highland Archaeology Services Ltd

Funder: J Fraser and Son

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