Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

All our staffed properties, sites and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, are currently closed, but we’re working on plans to gradually reopen. In the meantime, you can access our services online. Find out more.


Date 1993

Event ID 998521

Category Recording

Type Excavation


There were three principal areas of investigation during the 1993 season of excavation: the interior of the SW tower ("Davy's Tower"); the SW corner of the courtyard, adjacent to Davy's Tower; and the N side of the courtyard, against the S wall of the N range.

SW Tower. Removal of a thin deposit of modern detritus at first floor level revealed a layer of voided rubble and loose mortar, infilling the space between the underlying vaulted cellars and the flagged floor ofd the hall. Only a few broken flags now project from the inside faces of the walls. In the NE corner of the room, the foundations were revealed of the sole stair that links this level with the upper storeys of the tower. These foundations of massive dry-stone rubble had been built directly upon the vault of the circular basement below.

SW Courtyard. A mound of 19th/20th century rubble was partially removed from the E face of the SW tower in 1988; this task was completed in 1993. This exposed the foundations of the tower, below which were the fragmentary remains of a masonry building that appears to have been destroyed by fire. On the evidence of large quantities of window glass and pottery associated with the demolished building, its construction probably dates to the 14th century. The foundations of another masonry building had been cut into the subsoil nearby. There was no indication as to the function or date of this small building although its resemblance to the truncated walls below the tower suggests that the two structures may have been contemporary.

Between the tower and the S range there were several post holes cut into the subsoil. There was also a number of larger pits, perhaps evidence of a substantial timber structure that pre-dated the extant masonry buildings of the palace.

N courtyard. Limited excavations within this area in 1987 and in 1992 demonstrated that the steep slope against which the S wall of the N range had been built had been levelled, mostly with midden deposits. The proposed rebuilding of a large stretch of the wall prompted the excavation of much of that material which proved to contain huge quantities of animal bones and substantial amounts of pottery. Most of the latter appeared to be of 15th and 16th-century dates.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland.

J Lewis 1993

People and Organisations