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Geophysical Survey

Date 18 September 2012 - 21 September 2012

Event ID 992740

Category Recording

Type Geophysical Survey


NM 2859 2453 (centred on) A series of geophysical surveys was undertaken 18–21 September 2012 at Iona Abbey in advance of the construction of a proposed new ticket booth. The surrounding area of lawn N of the Torr an Aba was also surveyed to provide information about the immediate environs.

The survey covered a 0.32ha area of lawn W of Iona Abbey, between the public road, Torr an Aba and the Road of the Dead. The SW area is level, but rises at a gradual incline toward the NE half way across. The lawn is flanked by the steep sides of the Torr an Aba to the E, a boundary wall to the W and N, and cemetery wall to the S.

This series of geophysical surveys has produced good quality data, and important potentially early medieval findings include the possible continuation of a vallum ditch across the S area of the survey. Other possible monastic settlement remains were confined to the S half of the survey, in particular the area N of the possible ditch and the old road. Notable among these was a possible enclosure and building located by the radar at depth. This has the potential to be very significant in situ Early Christian monastic remains, which are worthy of further investigation. Several probable excavation trenches associated with Thomas’s investigation in the 1950s and 60s were also located. A programme of excavation will be necessary to resolve the character, date and significance of the archaeological remains.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Kirkdale Archaeology on behalf of Historic Scotland

Oliver JT O’Grady, OJT Heritage


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