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Township (Post Medieval)

Site Name Arboll

Classification Township (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Arboll Links

Canmore ID 15318

Site Number NH88SE 9

NGR NH 8835 8283

NGR Description Centred on NH 8835 8283

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NH88SE 9 884 828

Situated immediately S of the large coastal sand dunes on Ardboll links are the remains of at least 9 buildings and associated enclosures. The buildings appear to have been of dry-stone construction although they have been reduced to their footings and covered with blown sand and turf. They are all rectangular, 3m wide but vary in length from S to 13m. Running E around the S side of the settlement is a substantial bank 5m wide at its base and 1m high. There are traces of field work to the S of the bank. A track can be traced along the N edge of the settlement.

RCAHMS 1979, visited by RCAHMS (PC) 1977.


Field Visit (September 1977)

Arboll NH 884 828 NH88SE

This township comprises at least nine buildings, represented by dry-stone footings.

RCAHMS 1979, visited September 1977

Measured Survey (31 January 2017)

NH 8835 8283 (NH88SE 9) A survey was undertaken of Arboll Township (also known as Arbroll Links Township) on 31 January 2017. The township is located on rough sandy grassland 150m to the S of the shoreline behind several large sand dunes. The area is occasionally grazed by cattle. A channelled burn runs down the W side of the township and drains into the sea at a small creek.

The township consists of the linear remains of nine (possibly 11) buildings, up to 12 enclosures, 5 midden pits and a further pit/possible kiln. The features appear to be grouped into four, possibly five, distinct units suggesting farmsteads for families. Each unit has a building or two conjoined buildings, an enclosure or two, and most one or two midden pits.

Most of the linear remains are turf covered dry stone walls with a thickness or spread of between 0.6m and 1.5m and a height of 0.2m to 0.5m. The buildings are variable in size from 3–4m x 8–10m internally and the enclosures are equally variable in size from 6–8m x 10–14m, but as much as 25m in

one case. The pits are on average 4m in diameter and 0.5m deep.

The footings of a discontinuous dry stone wall (Feature 25), probably an estate boundary wall, bound the S side of the township; remnants of the wall can be traced for at least 1km eastwards. A trackway traverses the N part of the township.

The township appears to have been created as people were cleared from the hinterland, settled on marginal ground outside the estate boundary, and expected to make a living from pastoral and fishing activities. It is marked on a plan of Geanies Estate dated 1833 as ‘Fishertown of Arboll’. The enclosures were probably for kale or other crops and their number suggests that the cattle were free to roam about the township. It is quite likely that the community was heavily affected by the cholera epidemic of 1832 and the township may have been abandoned at that time.

Report: Highland Council HER

Meryl Marshall – North of Scotland Archaeological Society

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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