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Mains Of Applecross

Broch (Iron Age), Hearth (Period Unassigned), Inscribed Stone (Period Unknown), Metal Smelting Site (Period Unknown), Pottery Scatter (Iron Age), Staircase (Period Unassigned), Comb (Antler), Pin (Copper), Rotary Quern, Toggle (Antler)

Site Name Mains Of Applecross

Classification Broch (Iron Age), Hearth (Period Unassigned), Inscribed Stone (Period Unknown), Metal Smelting Site (Period Unknown), Pottery Scatter (Iron Age), Staircase (Period Unassigned), Comb (Antler), Pin (Copper), Rotary Quern, Toggle (Antler)

Alternative Name(s) Borrodale

Canmore ID 11743

Site Number NG74SW 2

NGR NG 71183 44330

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Applecross
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NG74SW 2 7118 4432.

At NG 7118 4432, immediately W of Mains of Applecross (formerly 'Borrodale', from Norse 'borger', a burg or stronghold, and 'dalr', a dale - 'Fort dale') (W J Watson 1904) on the highest point of a low ridge, there is almost certainly the remains of a broch, which may possibly be the 'dun' mentioned by McQueen (Statistical Account [OSA], Rev J MacQueen, 1792). It consists of a grass-covered mound of stones, crossed by a field dyke, measuring about 18.5m in diameter with traces of walling visible here and there, and some large base stones on the SE. Many of these stones show evidence of having been roughly squared. There are traces of a possible outwork across the ridge on the NW.

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (R D) 28 April 1968.

Almost certainly the last remnants of a broch consisting of a grass-covered mound of debris 18.5m in diameter and 0.8m high. Only one large block in the S can be considered an outer facing stone in situ. The only squared stones now visible are those in a pile of debris from modern constructions.

The "outwork" noted by OS field Surveyor (R D) is a slight depression about 10m to the NW. It is accentuated by the ruinous overgrown remains of a modern wall built on its outer lip and it is unlikely that it is anything other than a fortuitoius hollow.

Visited by OS (J M) 29 May 1974.

Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Videotext Communications Ltd. to carry out archaeological recording and post-excavation analysis on an archaeological evaluation by Chanel 4's 'Time Team' at the site of a possible Iron Age broch in Applecross, Wester Ross. Eight trenches were opened by hand at various locations across this site.

The archaeological investigation at Applecross was able to reveal a structure with key chararcteristics that can be attributed to the Atlantic Iron Age architectural tradition, and to confirm that it belonged to the class of brochs rather than that of duns or wheelhouses. The project was also able to demonstrate that the broch had been subject to a least one phase, if not more of reuse. Only a programme of radiocarbon dating would be able to provide a more precise chronology for the re-occupation(s) of the broch, and whether the infilling of the broch with midden material was related to Iron Age abandonment or also relates to later activity (Pictish/Viking/Norse etc.) on the site. The external midden deposits however are likely related to post-Iron Age activity, and contained good environmental deposits that implied that during this time the inhabitants were subsisting on a mixed economy that included domestic and wild animals, as well as harvesting marine resources. Evidence for post-broch industrial and textile manufacturing processes was also indicated by the presence of slag in Trench 3 and weaving tools from the midden.

Wessex Archaeology Limited, 2006.

NG 7118 4433 Two quadrants were opened in October 2006 to reveal the plan of the broch, follow up the work of the Time Team and clarify any subsequent activity on the site. With poor weather it proved impossible to do more than take off the turf and record the rubble spread overlying the site.

The project gave an opportunity to local people to take part in archaeological excavation alongside professional archaeologists.

Report lodged with Highland SMR and Library Service and NMRS; archive will be deposited with RCAHMS.

Sponsor: National Lottery Awards for All, Highland Archaeology Services Ltd.

John Wood, 2006.


Excavation (October 2006)

NG 7118 4433 Two quadrants were opened in October 2006 to reveal the plan of the broch, follow up the work of the Time Team and clarify any subsequent activity on the site. With poor weather it proved impossible to do more than take off the turf and record the rubble spread overlying the site.

The project gave an opportunity to local people to take part in archaeological excavation alongside professional archaeologists.

Report lodged with Highland SMR and Library Service and NMRS; archive will be deposited with RCAHMS.

Sponsor: National Lottery Awards for All;

Highland Archaeology Services Ltd

J Wood 2006

Excavation (April 2007 - September 2007)

NG 7118 4433 Two ten-day excavations were held at the Applecross Broch site in April and September 2007. The excavations consisted of a programme of community-led archaeological investigation and site presentation works. Its purpose was to identify and record key aspects of the broch site that could not be addressed during the Time Team visit in April 2005, creating a conserved, interpreted monument for the

public to visit. Following a previous season in 2006, the first excavation of 2007 saw the continuation of investigation in two opposing quadrants that had been opened over the circuit of the broch. A rectangular possible work surface was investigated in the broch centre, and during the September stint, the entrance passageway of a souterrain was uncovered. Also discovered during the latter excavation of 2007 were two similarly incised stones. Extensions were also made to trenches from previous seasons, as well as two 2 x 2m trenches in preparation for the relocation of the electricity pole from in the broch centre.

Archive deposited with RCAHMS.

Funder: Applecross Archaeology.

Publication Account (2007)

NG74 1 BORRODALE ('Applecross', ‘Mains of Applecross’)

NG/7118 4432

This possible broch in Applecross, Ross and Cromarty, stands on the highest point of a low ridge; it is now a grass-covered mound 0.8m high and about 18.5m in diameter [1]. The adjoining farm, Mains of Applecross, was formerly 'Borrodale' which comes from the Old Norse for 'fort valley' [2]; this supports the idea that there was a broch nearby which was once more conspicuous.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NG 74 SW 2: 2. Watson 1904, 204.

E W MacKie 2007

Excavation (July 2008)

NG 7118 4433 The third season of excavation, undertaken over two weeks in July 2008, aimed to uncover another quadrant of the site and to investigate the possible souterrain uncovered in 2007. The work brought further clarification to the broch site and revealed multiple phases, including a possible pre-broch structure.

The third quadrant (Trench 4) revealed evidence of postbroch alteration to the walls, particularly where the inner broch walls narrowed and widened. There is evidence that parts of the inner walls were rebuilt and new internal partitioning constructed during a later phase of use. This evidence is similar to that uncovered during previous seasons in the first two quadrants. Three intramural passages and three intramural galleries were also recorded.

The excavation of the broch entrance, on a NE/SW orientation, revealed a paved passage and lintel-like steps

within poorly constructed walls. It is an unconvincing original entrance and since a final quadrant remains unexcavated, it is possible that the original broch entrance remains to be found. It is also possible that this was a later entrance into a post-broch structure, since there is evidence of post-broch living and work surfaces in the courtyard.

Investigation of the possible souterrain entrance uncovered in 2007 revealed a slabbed surface or pathway leading to the outside of the broch. Several fragments of pottery, possibly of Iron Age date, were recovered from the fill overlying this surface.

On the opposite side of the broch from this entrance, a group of large flat slabs laid side by side were recorded. These slabs have not been fully excavated but appear to be very similar in arrangement to the slabs that overlie the entrance. As they underlie the broch’s outer wall, it is possible that they cover an opposing entrance into an earlier roundhouse type structure and thus that the possible souterrain entrance is not what it seems. This theory is further supported by evidence of a wall outside of the broch’s outer wall.

Two trenches were excavated outside the broch to investigate possible sub-broch structures. Instead of

structures the trenches revealed a metalworking surface, a stone bank/road and two related slab-lined features. All of these areas will require further excavation to establish their significance.

The site has been excavated to reveal the post-broch stage of occupation, but has not reached the earlier occupation layers. Excavation of the probable structure beneath the broch will require an extension to the excavated area.

Finds – In 2007 a fragment of a sandstone slab with incised carvings was uncovered in the fill overlying the broch entrance. A second fragment was later recovered from the spoil. Initial analysis suggests that the carvings were made using a metal implement. Other worked stone includes a number of whole and fragmentary stones that may have originated as coarse stone tools. The majority of these remain in situ. They may include a quern stone, grinding stone and bone fragments, re-used in or redeposited into the

construction, shoring and in-filling of their current contexts.

Other finds, in secondary contexts include undecorated and decorated steatite spindle whorls, possibly sourced from the natural steatite deposits of Glenelg. Eleven polished stone tools were found during the 2008 season, including three whetstones, two picks and six polishing stones. A ‘set’ of four polished stone tools

(whetstone, pick, polishing stone and ax/adze), laid out in a line, was uncovered after surface clean-back in Trench 1, near two rectilinear features that may be industrial areas. A shale bangle was uncovered in redeposited loam in Trench 5, an area outside the broch. A full bangle diameter of 80mm has been projected, and infers a connection to Iron Age horizons on the site, specifically in its resemblance to similar finds at the High Pasture Cave site on the Isle of Skye.

For further information about the Applecross Broch Community Archaeology Project, or to get a copy of our most recent report, please contact Mary Peteranna at

Mary Peteranna and Cait McCullagh (Applecross Archaeology Society), 2008

Excavation (5 September 2009 - 19 September 2009)

NG 7118 4433 The fifth season of excavation, undertaken 5–19 September 2009, saw the removal of the collapse and demolition overburden of the last, SW quadrant of the site. This proved to be in a much better state of preservation than anticipated, with external walling standing to 1.2m high.

Of particular interest was the intramural passage containing the surviving lower steps of the intramural

stairway. A later clay-lined hearth was set inside this passage, overlying the steps in a way that would only have been practicable if the passage walling was reduced on at least one side. A possible post setting next to the highest surviving step indicates that the stair had probably been removed and that a temporary wooden partition or screen defined this work or cooking area.

We also investigated a passageway, 0.6m wide and of as yet unknown depth, entering the structure from the W and passing under both the outer and inner walling, separated from the lowest courses of these walls by a 150mm deep deposit of mixed material overlying a compacted ashy deposit 100mm deep. The passage is cut into the natural sandy subsoil and is likely to belong to the earliest phase of the site. Partial investigation of this feature was made possible by the removal of an electricity pole, which had been inserted through the broch’s inner wall in the early 1960s.

The southern arc of the broch’s wall is notable in having two outer arcs of boulder coursing. Interpretations for these include the levelling up of a platform on which to build the main structure, a complex outer defensive walling, or the remains of an earlier phase of buildings of similar dimensions to the broch, where each subsequent rebuild has shifted the footprint of the structure N by a couple of metres. This last seems unlikely if only because the shift is towards the steepest side of the glacial ridge on which the structure stands. However, more evidence for an earlier structure is possibly present in the SW quadrant, where a deliberate

placing of large boulders to flank an area of paving abutting onto the outside wall is reminiscent of the complex entrance of Dun Telve broch and may be the remains of a blockhouse.

Investigation of an area adjacent to the broch’s outer wall in the SE quadrant revealed a deep linear cut, covered by large slabs. The walls of the cut were lined with vertical slabs and although this does not exactly match the description given at the time, this may be a part of the souterrain passage recorded in the 1790s.

All these features confirm suspicions raised during the 2008 season, that although the structure exhibits many

characteristics of a broch, this was probably only one phase of a multi-phase Atlantic Roundhouse-type structure. While the community excavation has so far only removed the overburden to expose the full extent of the structure, it is hoped to continue excavating to investigate the occupation deposits and clarify the phases of the structure.

Sixty-three small finds were recovered. The range of materials includes antler, ceramics, copper alloys, glass

and iron. The largest percentage of the assemblage was stone artefacts, including coarse stone tools such as

hammer, grinding and polishing stones. Of these, one round sandstone cobble of 74mm diameter is notable. It has both a hammered central depression and percussion marks around the circumference, consistent with its probable use as a combined anvil and hammerstone. It was recovered from between the lintel slabs of the linear cut adjacent to the outer wall of the broch, in the SE quadrant. This tool is typical of much of the stone assemblage recovered from secondary contexts, having possibly been re-used or redeposited into the construction, shoring and infilling of the contexts in which they were found.

This season saw the first indication of high-status metalware being used on the site. The remains of what appears to be a degraded copper alloy pin, 45mm in length, were recovered at the threshold between the passage to the inner courtyard and the cooking area, created close to the lower steps of the previously mentioned intramural passage. Whilst the artefact appears to consist almost entirely of corrosion product

(verdigris), it is hoped that specialist analysis will provide a likely date of manufacture.

The recovery of a plano-convex cake of ferrous material and associated detritus, measuring 110mm in diameter, and formed by a run-off of tap slag collecting in a circular pit close to a smelting furnace, indicates iron being smelted in a furnace heated to above 1000° centigrade. It is believed that such temperatures were not achieved by native Iron Age metalworkers and are more likely to indicate, at the earliest 16th-century metalworking. While only further specialist analysis can confirm the chronology of iron smelting on the site, the potential for an early modern context adds significantly to the already complex multi-phasing suggested

by the structural record.

The antler comb end-plate fragment, 19 x 25mm, recovered from a silty loam deposit layer in the inner courtyard area, is suggestive of another period of activity. With its distinctive dot and ring decoration on both faces, and graduated teeth, this plate fragment is readily recognisable as an element of a double-sided composite comb of the type produced in Scotland in the 7th to 9th centuries. It is one of up to three toothed plates that would have been fixed with iron rivets along a horizontal brace plate.

As in previous seasons most of the finds from the 2009 season were found in re-deposited and other secondary contexts. This is consistent with the project design to define and record the extent of the structural footprint while avoiding excavating occupation layers. However, the range of materials and artefact types is already providing insights into both the complex chronology of the site and the diverse economy, pursuits and preferences of its occupants.

Report: Highland Historic Environment Record (HHER) and Applecross Archaeology Society

Funder: Applecross Campsite, Highland LEADER, The Hugh Fraser Foundation, Wester Ross Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Ward

Cathy Dagg and Cait McCullagh – Applecross Archaeological Society

Excavation (1 June 2010 - 3 July 2010)

NG 7118 4433 During the 1 June–3 July 2010 season the four quadrants excavated in succession from 2006–2009 were reopened and external trenches to the NW and S sides of the broch were extended, to investigate previously known features beyond the main structure.

The final phase of occupation in the courtyard area was revealed in its entirety, showing fully the slabbed walkways leading from the main entrance toward the staircase gallery and bisected from N–S by other slabbed walkways. Further hearth settings were also uncovered across the courtyard interior. These appear to divide the interior space into discrete work areas. Three additional features at opposing corners of the courtyard were interpreted as possible post settings. A section of one revealed an extensive depth of deposits (possible primary site deposits) below the feature. The redeposited material overlying and surrounding these areas produced numerous finds amidst shell- and animal bone-rich deposits, often associated with individual events. A quantity of worked and unworked antler and the remains of two iron knives were recovered from material in the S side of the courtyard.

Trench 8, the W quadrant, and Trench 2, the E quadrant, were extended to investigate the alignments of outer wall faces and changes to the main structure. On the WNW side of the main structure two outer wall alignments ‘merge’ into a single well-built outer wall. Beyond this on the WSW side of the site three separate alignments of sub-circular outer walls were visible. Sections were excavated around the site to investigate the stratigraphy of the walling, which has proven to be complex and confusing. However, it is certain that the broch structure was rebuilt over multiple periods, with its use changing during different phases of occupation.

In 2009 a trench to the S of the main structure (Trench 9) recorded a slab-covered ditch cut into the subsoil, which extended beyond the main broch structure. In 2010 this trench was extended by 5m to the S. This extension revealed that the ditch continued S to where a second ditch cut extended E outside of the trench. The ditch also curved SE and appeared to widen into a possible corbelled chamber. Unfortunately, the structure had been greatly disturbed in the past by tree roots. A section excavated through the feature showed a shallow cut on either side that developed into a steep-sided cut, 1m deep with a U-shaped base. The lower deposits suggest that the ditch silted up over time, while the upper fill of the structure suggested a single episode of backfilling, after which the main overlying recumbent slabs were replaced outside the broch’s outer wall. Another section excavated inside of the broch’s outer wall, across an intramural gallery passage, revealed that the ditch also extended below the main structure.

A new trench (10) sectioned the outer and inner broch walls and allowed the investigation of two passages. An entrance through the broch’s outer NW wall, which was uncovered in 2007 (Feature 6) and a stone-lined passage underlying the broch structure, identified in the NW broch courtyard in 2009 (Feature 39). Trench 10 revealed that the cut of the Feature 6 passage met the earlier passage (Feature 39), although the two passages are not contemporary. The later passage (Feature 6) appears to have been built during a secondary phase of restructuring, when a pre-existing outer wall was widened to merge the new outer wall with the old outer wall. The earlier passage (Feature 39) comprised a cut into the natural subsoil faced with well-built dry stone walling. This passage extends further S below the main broch structure.

The ‘industrial zone’ is located c4m to the W and NW of the outer wall face of the broch. In 2010 an area 7 x 8m was opened. This excavation, which extended W from the exposed broch walls, aimed to investigate the original ground surface and established the earliest activity along the ridge related to cultivation. Ard marks, first noted here, were also observed under the earliest phase walling of the broch structure and a number of shallow, irregularly-shaped pits and deeper, stone-lined postholes were also found cut into the subsoil of this otherwise open ground.

The first major external feature on this side of the broch is a ditch (Feature 28), cut vertically into the subsoil to a depth of 300mm, with a v-shaped base. It is aligned across the ridge and may originally have continued as a circular feature around the broch or pre-broch structures. A similar ditch was observed in the SE quadrant of the exterior area and geophysical evidence from 2005 supports this possibility. This ditch appeared to have been open for some time and infilled with numerous thin layers of fine silts. The ditch was subsequently lined with clay, possibly to hold water. The uppermost ditch fill is rich in charcoal and cracked cobbles and this may represent deliberate infilling to level the site.

Set into the SE end of the ditch feature, is what appears to be a cist (Feature 11). It was constructed of vertical slabs and horizontal slab walling, and measured 1.4 x 0.7m internally. The cist was probably originally corbelled, with some slabs falling into it as it filled. A small amount of cremated bone was recovered from the bottom 40mm of the infill. One of the floor slabs was lifted and charcoal recovered from the underlying deposit may provide a construction date. Two fragments of decorated pottery were recovered from the fill of the cist. A prominent upright stone, which stood c0.15m above the present ground surface prior to excavation, was set at a distance c0.2m away from the cist and along the cist’s long axis. This stone was remarkably similar to set ‘obelisks or menhirs’ erected at five Western Isles wheelhouse sites, notably at the Udal, and interpreted as being ritual in intent.

Adjacent to the cist, partially overlying the infilled ditch and post-dating both, is a long-lived hearth and iron-working feature (Feature 4). The base of this feature consists of a shallow basin of ashy deposits and large chunks of charcoal, which has been deposited into the uppermost fill of the ditch. The deposit extends c0.5m beyond the upper hearth but is contained by the ditch cut to the E, and by the walling of cist to the S. The deposit is overlain by the hearth proper, a sub-circle of hard, burnt earth onto which are set a group of horizontal slabs, surrounding a small concentration of iron, slag and clinker. A sample of the matrix produced a

significant quantity of probable hammer scale. A probable anvil, formed from a large broken cobble and a c0.7 x 0.4m area of tap slag was also found. The area of slag was defined to the S by an angled slab leaning against the cist walling.

A second vertical cut (Feature 22) into the subsoil W of the ditch feature is an extension of the slab-lined cut observed in Trench 6 in 2008. The faces of the cut may have originally been lined with vertically placed slabs, some survive in the narrow passage part of the cut which runs S. A very large slab had also been placed partway up the face of the S-facing side, and the socket of a removed vertical slab survives, adjacent to a pillar of stones in the SW corner.

Another hearth and possible iron working site (Feature 21) was built into this cut. This consists of an arc of rough rubble walling, c1m high, surrounding a small hearth at the end of a narrow passage or flue, defined by the E side of the cut and rough walling to the W. After this passage and hearth were infilled, they appear to have been overlain by a linear setting of stones, possibly defining a later temporary structure. With the exception of the cist and upright stone, and possibly the early construction phase of the ditch, the features in this area appear to be associated with industrial activity, notably metal working. Significantly, virtually no domestic material such as animal bone, antler or pottery was recovered from this area.

A total of 345 small finds were recovered. The range of materials includes antler, modified bone, ceramics, copper alloys, iron and pumice. As in previous years the largest percentage of the assemblage was stone artefacts, including coarse stone tools such as hammers and chisels. The predominant stone tool types continue to be those used for grinding, sharpening, rubbing and polishing. When considered alongside the numbers of whole and fragmentary whetstones and other possible stone sharpeners, the recovery of two iron blades, one complete with a circular tang, aligns well with the increasing evidence that this is likely to have

been a metalworking site, producing blade technology during the later occupation period(s).

The entire assemblage contains an unusually high number of antler ‘toggles’ or rings, with a further four recovered this season. Their association with a concentration of antler and deer mandibles and vertebrae, suggesting the rendering of inedible parts, recovered from the inner courtyard and close vicinity has led the excavators to consider possible alternative uses for the antler toggles or rings. When considered in association with the carcass debris and the numerous stone rubbing and scraping tools and the finds of faceted pumice, the evidence for what appears to be rope or twine wear on the rims of the toggles could infer that they may have been used to increase the tension of hides, stretched on frames in preparation for scraping. It may be a step too far to suggest that the broch site’s early medieval inhabitants were in the business of producing vellum for the Early Christian settlement believed to be located in the bay below. However, the proposal that the courtyard was used as a deer processing centre, as inferred by the above mentioned finds distribution, is being given serious attention by our specialists undertaking post-excavation analysis.

Excavations in 2009 saw the first indication of high-status decorative metal ware on the site. During the 2010 season a variety of copper alloy artefacts including two ring headed pins, analogous to known Hebridean examples dated to between the 6th and 7th centuries AD were recovered. An additional dress pin, with faceted head, two spiral rings and, what is believed to be a harness fastening, which has been fashioned, decoratively, by twisting a thin ingot of bronze. The internal diameter of one of the spiral ‘rings’, at 16mm, suggests that this was not designed to be worn on even the slenderest of fingers. The rings both bear a close resemblance to toe-rings recovered from Iron Age, early medieval and Norse contexts throughout Scotland and Ireland. One other possible interpretation is that these items may have been designed as hair ornaments.

The early indications are that the iron and copper alloy finds are associated with the latest phases of occupation at the broch. The recovery of an ingot mould, formed from a sandstone boulder, from the vicinity of the extension to Trench 8 added to the evidence for on-site metalworking. The mould groove, 120 x 5mm and showing signs of leverage wear on both sides, is accompanied by a curiously cruciform mould carved into the upper left hand quadrant of the mould face. It is not believed that this is an element of Christian iconography but may be a mould for a belt or harness mount rough-outs.

As in previous seasons, numerous pottery sherds were recovered. The vast majority of these were in the central courtyard area, supporting the interpretation of areas in this zone as ceramics production sites. The range of sherds conforms to Middle to Late Iron Age types and, the less well-defined, early medieval types known for Atlantic Scotland. One notable exception was recovered from the lower fill of the cist-like structure (Feature 11). This weakly everted rim sherd, with a dot decoration impressed upon the neck and what appears to be a partial chevron on the body resembles both the decorative patterning and fabric of sherds associated with the pre-broch horizon, dating to at least the Early Iron Age at Dun Mor Vaul, Tiree.

As in previous seasons most of the finds from the 2010 season were found in redeposited and other secondary contexts. This is consistent with the project design to define and record the extent of the structural footprint while avoiding excavating occupation layers. However, the range of materials and artefact types continues to provide insights into both the complex chronology of the site and the diverse economy, activities and preferences of its occupants.

Reports: Highland HER and Applecross Archaeology Society

Funder: Applecross Archaeological Society, Applecross Campsite, Applecross Community Council, Applecross Sports Associations, Applecross Trust, European Regional Development Fund, Highland LEADER and Heritage Lottery Fund

Cathy Dagg, Cait McCullagh and Mary Peteranna – Applecross Archaeology Society

OASIS ID: rosscrom1-133204

Field Visit (16 March 2012 - 28 September 2012)

NG 7125 4435 The Applecross Community Archaeology Project, which commenced in 2011, continued with further fieldwork from 16 March – 28 September 2012. Work included an investigation into the mining history of Applecross parish, including the short lived iron mines at Kishorn. Abandoned iron ore was recovered, and it is hoped that an iron smelting experiment will take place at a future date.

A plane table survey training day completed a ground plan of some mysterious building footings within the coniferous forestry S of Applecross Broch. Previously unclear, the planned footings revealed themselves to be a standard pattern rectangular sheep fank and small cottage. Although these are common in the sheep farming areas of the Highlands, there are very few on the Applecross peninsula. This one probably dates to the early 19th century and was deliberately demolished around 1870.

In April the group carried out a building survey at the steading of Applecross Home Farm. This is a very early designed farmstead, c1840, which has undergone many modifications as farming practices changed, leaving in some cases only small changes in stonework to indicate the original design.

An exhibition showing the results of the training project was set up in Applecross Heritage Centre in October 2012.

Archive: Applecross Heritage Centre and HCAU

Funder: Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme

Catherine Dagg,


Excavation (19 May 2012 - 17 June 2012)

NG 7118 4433 Two test trenching excavations took place on 19 May and 17 June 2012 as part of a series of weekend community archaeology events planned under the Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme (ALPS), aimed at engaging the community and its visitors with the heritage of Applecross and for providing training in archaeological techniques.

The first investigation targeted an area of high resistance recorded to the NW of Applecross Broch during a 2005 geophysical survey conducted by Wessex Archaeology. One trench revealed no archaeological features or finds, a second trench revealed the remains of the footing of a ruinous boundary wall and the cut for a modern, but unrecorded, test pit and the third trench revealed a pit or ditch containing stone cobbles. The area around the third trench was extended, but not fully excavated. The results suggested that the circular area of high resistance was probably of geological origin. The second investigation targeted areas of interest identified during the 2006–2010 excavations of Applecross Broch. Trench 1 targeted an upright, earthfast stone standing above the turf level. This had been identified during the broch fieldwork and appeared similar to another prominent pillar stone excavated during the 2006-2010 project which was found to be lining the side of a ditch and possibly marking a cist structure. Trench 2 targeted the potential continuation of the ditch.

Trench 1 revealed two features. The pillar stone with an associated pit/ditch lined with upright slabs and one side of a linear cut for a possible ditch. Trench 2 revealed a sequence of stone and boulder deposits which continued below the trench depth of 0.8m. A section excavated at the ESE end of Trench 2 uncovered a large, recumbent sandstone slab, measuring at least 0.9m across and 0.1m deep. It extended beyond the trench and section edges and was loosely interpreted as a lintel stone, possibly covering a ditch. Both trenches contained numerous fragments of iron slag and other metalworking debris, two possible hammerstones and one iron dagger fragment. The finds provided evidence of the continued spread of archaeological material from the broch site, and are similar in type to those recovered from the area excavated in 2010 NW of the broch, only 6–8m E of the 2012 investigation.

Archive: Applecross Heritage Centre and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme

Mary Peteranna, Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme

Lynn Fraser, 2012

OASIS ID: rosscrom1-133202 (M Peteranna, L Fraser) - Trial Trenching 19-20 May 2012

OASIS ID: rosscrom1-133201 (M Peteranna) - Trail Trenching 16-17 June 2012


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