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Date 1992

Event ID 998520

Category Recording

Type Excavation


Limited excavation beyond the SE corner of the enclosure revealed the reamins of a shallow ditch, 7m wide and aligned E/W, that appeared to pre-date all of the extant buildings of the palace. The ditch was levelled during the construction of the S range and the SE corner tower, the massive rubble foundations of the latter extending well into it. Several sherds of 12th-century pottery (from at least three vessels, including one of ?Low Countries proto-stoneware) were recovered from one of the ditch-fills; these appeared to comprise redeposited midden material. Overlying the ditch were deposits derived from the partial collapse of the adjacent buildings; with no indication of a surface contemporary with the occupation of the palace.

Further S, the drystone, E/W perimeter wall built in 1820 was dismantled to reveal an underlying, clay-bonded and mortar-pointed, rubble wall that survived to a length of 54m. This lower wall is believed to have formed the boundary between the palace and its gardens and orchards.

Two small trenches were opened at first floor level within the SW corner tower to determine the depth (0.20m) of debris that overlay the roof of the cellars below.

Before a safety fence was installed on the N side of the courtyard, trenching was carried out adjacent to the S wall of the N range in an area partially excavated in 1987. The steep, natural slope that once led northwards to Spynie Loch was exposed at several points on the courtyard side of the range.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

J Lewis 1992.

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