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Caithness Fieldwalking Project

Knife, Leaf Arrowhead, Lithic Implement(S), Polished Axehead, Spindle Whorl, Unidentified Pottery (Medieval), Unidentified Pottery (Norse)

Site Name Caithness Fieldwalking Project

Classification Knife, Leaf Arrowhead, Lithic Implement(S), Polished Axehead, Spindle Whorl, Unidentified Pottery (Medieval), Unidentified Pottery (Norse)

Canmore ID 273633

Site Number ND27SW 86

NGR ND 224 708

NGR Description Centred ND 224 708

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Dunnet
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND27SW 86 centred 224 708

(Dunnet; Olrig; Wick parishes)


ND 224 708 (centre) Five fields were walked in March and April 2004, four at the northern end of Dunnet Bay and one close to Loch Heilen. Finds comprise predominantly modern and 19th-century pottery, although two pieces of possible Norse pottery were also identified. A decorated spindle whorl recovered may also date to this period. Small quantities of lithics were collected, mainly debitage, although including a finely worked leaf-shaped arrowhead.

ND 207 668 (centre) Fourteen fields were walked in March and April 2004, primarily to the SE of Castletown, along the B876. Large quantities of modern and 19th-century pottery were recovered, together with modern glass. Most notable, however, are the prehistoric finds, which include a quartzite knife (ND 197 679); a polished stone axe and barbed-and-tanged arrowhead (ND 204 678); a lozenge-shaped arrowhead (ND 208 660); and a sherd of prehistoric pottery (ND 213 662). A sizeable assemblage of lithic material was also collected, relating to the low-density scatter that has been identified across the landscape elsewhere in Caithness (see DES 2001, 66; DES 2002, 79; DES 2003, 93-4). The material comprises predominantly debitage, although a small number of tools including scrapers and retouched flakes/blades were recovered, together with blade and flake cores.

Two small discrete clusters of lithic material were identified (ND 213 662). The largest of the clusters was approximately 5m in diameter, and located on the top of a small natural mound. It yielded 140 pieces, predominantly flake and blade debitage, a sizeable proportion of which has been burnt. The assemblage also includes a microlith, a small conical blade core, and several blade core fragments. Cluster 2, located approximately 20m to the N, was around 7m in diameter, and yielded 34 pieces of flake and blade debitage. It is possible that this material derived from the larger cluster and had been washed down the slope. A third cluster was identified in an adjacent field, 200m to the W. This was approximately 5m in diameter and produced 82 pieces. The material comprises predominantly blade debitage and angular shatter, a large proportion of which has been burnt. Two blade core fragments were also recovered, but no diagnostic tools.

ND 345 460 (centre) Three fields were walked in March and April 2004 on the eastern side of the A99, 0.5km NE of Thrumster village. Midden material relating to a post-medieval house (now destroyed) was recovered at ND 3417 4554, including large quantities of 19th-century pottery, glass and building stone. Two possible pot lids were also recovered, together with a fragment of a stone bowl. This has been tentatively identified as late prehistoric in date, and may relate to activities at the nearby Thrumster Little Broch. Very little lithic material was recovered, although a small non-discrete cluster of material was identified (ND 346 458), which includes a small blade.Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: Murray Lamond.

A Pannett 2004.


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