Excavations on the Tarbat Peninsula: Scotsburn (Iron Age Broch or Dun) Part 1

Mid Excavation Report by Oskar Sveinbjarnason (University of Aberdeen)

The excavation at Scotsburn House aims at dating the occupation as well as trying to discern if the site is a broch or a dun.

Outer wall face of Scotsburn "house" with Roland.

Outer wall face of Scotsburn “house” with Roland.

A single trench 20m long and 2m wide was placed over the building wall and extends northwards over four rampart banks. The round house wall has been revealed but it has not shown yet if it is a broch or a dun. The ramparts have so far shown a nice stone facing. The site is getting more complex as “new“ walls have been uncovered in the trench. The relationship between these walls and the ramparts and ditches is being investigated.

Photo from the trench with Leaf and James.

Photo from the trench with Leaf and James.

The lower left corner of the picture shows one of the banks. Behind Leaf and James is another bank and towards upper right corner is the Scotsburn house wall.

Following Oscar’s report an iron age road surface was uncovered in this ditch.

Iron age road surface scotsburn

Cobbling of an iron age road surface can be seen in the trench. The surface appears to continue underneath the stones of the wall. The wall also indicates several phases of construction and remodelling.

Then in the neighbouring ditch next to the Scotsburn “house” wall another discovery was made…

Pecked Stone Mortar

Vaidutis Žutautas (University of Aberdeen) takes up the account: The artefact is made out of sandstone, the socket diameter is about 17cm and it has been suggested to be a mortar of some sort by Dr F. Hunter. Because the stone seems to be smoothly pecked instead of having a rough surface, the possibility of it being a grinding stone is very unlikely. Unfortunately, one side of the stone, as you can see in the image, has started to erode, especially when it got completely uncovered. I am also uploading a wider area shot to show the context of the stone found within the trench. It sits in the occupation deposit between two low stone walls that almost undoubtedly form structures between the roundhouse and the first outer enclosure wall.

Wider shot of Scotsburn with possible stone mortar

Wider shot of Scotsburn trench with the possible stone mortar in situ.

Further posts regarding the Scotsburn dig and the other excavations at Tarbat will follow later this month.

scotsburnaerialview

Aerial view of the Scotsburn Excavation

See also Vaidutus’s second post on Scotsburn, including a flyover video of the excavation.

C14 Carbon Dating Results for all the digs on the Tarbat Peninsula 2013/14

C14 Carbon Dating Results for all the digs on the Tarbat Peninsula 2013/14

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Excavations on the Tarbat Peninsula: Scotsburn (Iron Age Broch or Dun) Part 1

  1. Pingback: Excavations on the Tarbat Peninsula: Scotsburn (Iron Age Broch or Dun) Part 2 | NOSAS Archaeology Blog

  2. Pingback: Experiments using a Quadcopter for Archaeological Aerial Photography | NOSAS Archaeology Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s