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Furnace, Crarae Gardens

Ditch (Period Unassigned), Monastic Settlement (Medieval)(Possible), No Class (Event)

Site Name Furnace, Crarae Gardens

Classification Ditch (Period Unassigned), Monastic Settlement (Medieval)(Possible), No Class (Event)

Canmore ID 281472

Site Number NR99NE 33

NGR NR 98674 97260

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/281472

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilmichael Glassary
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR99NE 33

NR 986 973 A desk-based assessment and evaluation were undertaken in September 2005. Trial trenching evaluation was requested in advance of development, due to the close proximity of the early church site of Killevin (NR99NE 4) and a Neolithic chambered cairn (NR99NE 6).

Two areas were evaluated. Seven trenches were excavated within Area A to the E of Killevin Church, amounting to 11% of the available area. Three trenches were excavated within Area C, to the SW of the chambered cairn, amounting to 6.5% of the available area. No features or deposits of archaeological interest were found within Area C.

Within Area A, a rough cobbled surface, 6m long, was uncovered. Sherds of medieval pottery were recovered from on top of the cobbling. A series of at least two ditches were uncovered. These were wide and shallow, between 2.8-4m wide and up to 0.8m deep, and contained medieval pottery and other finds. A small pit and a patch of burnt subsoil were also discovered. The presence of medieval pottery throughout this area suggests that these features may be medieval.

Reports lodged with WoSAS SMR and NMRS.

Sponsor: NTS.

M Kirby 2005

NR 986 973 This programme of excavations involved local volunteers and was carried out in May and June 2006 at Crarae Gardens, Loch Fyne, Mid Argyll in a field immediately to the west of the early church site at Killevin. It was undertaken subsequent to an archaeological evaluation carried out by CFA Archaeology Ltd in September 2005, which uncovered a series of at least two broad and shallow ditches containing medieval pottery and an area of rough cobbles. Further work carried out on the larger of the two ditches identified a possible stone bank running parallel with it on its western side. It is thought that this bank may have been part of the same feature identified by Derek Alexander in 2003 to the north of the Killevin burial ground and might represent a bank and ditch surrounding the early church site. Also identified were two parallel lines of post-holes, which were set at a distance of c.3.5m apart and are thought to represent a rectilinear structure. A large quantity of medieval pottery was recovered from the two ditches along with a number of other items including worked flint and an iron arrowhead.

Sponsor: The National Trust for Scotland.

M Kirby 13 September 2006

Activities

Excavation (13 December 2005)

NR 986 973 This programme of excavations involved local volunteers and was carried out in May and June 2006 at Crarae Gardens, Loch Fyne, Mid Argyll in a field immediately to the west of the early church site at Killevin. It was undertaken subsequent to an archaeological evaluation carried out by CFA Archaeology Ltd in September 2005, which uncovered a series of at least two broad and shallow ditches containing medieval pottery and an area of rough cobbles. Further work carried out on the larger of the two ditches identified a possible stone bank running parallel with it on its western side. It is thought that this bank may have been part of the same feature identified by Derek Alexander in 2003 to the north of the Killevin burial ground and might represent a bank and ditch surrounding the early church site. Also identified were two parallel lines of post-holes, which were set at a distance of c.3.5m apart and are thought to represent a rectilinear structure. A large quantity of medieval pottery was recovered from the two ditches along with a number of other items including worked flint and an iron arrowhead.

Sponsor: The National Trust for Scotland.

M Kirby 13 September 2006

Field Visit (December 2007)

As part of a major Heritage Lottery Funded project to improve the property

at Crarae Garden, it was proposed to construct new offices, sheds and storage units for the garden staff in the area immediately to the north-east of the graveyard. Prior to any construction work for the new garden facilities, an archaeological evaluation was carried out in September 2005 by CFA Archaeology Ltd. The results quickly revealed that further large scale excavation work would be required. In June 2006 a team from CFA, ably assisted by 10 volunteers and several groups from local primary schools, undertook the work. An area measuring c.31m by 24m was stripped of topsoil and excavated. Two linear ditches running parallel to the burn were the main discoveries. The inner ditch, closest to the graveyard, was the widest and deepest. Along its inner edge there was a slight terrace which appears to have formed the foundation for a stone bank or rough wall. The stone from this bank had collapsed into the ditch and included burnt and unburnt animal bone, metal artefacts and a lot of pottery. Over 400 pottery sherds have now been identified as medieval in date, probably belonging to the 14th-15th centuries. One set of sherds from the very base of the ditch were from a medieval Spanish amphora. The most exciting find, however, proved to be an iron arrowhead with a leaf shaped blade and tubular socket.

The outer ditch was narrower, shallower, and had a 3m wide break which appears to have been an entrance gap. This ditch contained many rounded stones and quite a lot of pottery. The entrance gap appears to line up well with an elongated area of paving positioned inside the inner ditch which could be the remains of a roadway leading up from the entrance to the church. This might also explain a dark stain at the base of the inner ditch which could be the remains of a timber sill beam to support a bridge over the inner ditch.

A series of postholes to the south-east of the paved roadway may represent the remains of a timber building perhaps as much as 7m long by 5m wide.

Initial thoughts would suggest that the ditches are boundary ditches which probably once had stony banks on their inside edge forming an enclosure around the medieval church site. Although many of the artefacts found in the ditches were medieval it is possible that the ditches were cut at an earlier period. Many early church sites are often enclosed by ditches, for example on Iona. The area around the church may have been the focus for a settlement and it may have formed a focus for exchanging/trading goods and also for limited manufacture. Evidence was recovered for metalworking on the site.

(CRA07 010)

Information from NTS (SCS) November 2013

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