Issue: Early medieval settlement and ironworking in Dornoch, Sutherland

Subtitle excavations at The Meadows Business Park
Publication Type
Abstract Monitoring and excavation during the development of a new business park in Dornoch in 1997 revealed numerous features including a building, ditched enclosures and several hearths, all sealed beneath an artefact-rich cultivation soil. Radiocarbon dates obtained place the main period of activity here in the late 1st millennium ad. The evidence recovered also suggests a tradition of ironworking here from the early medieval period continuing through into the medieval period. A small assemblage of finds was recovered from the excavation, including quantities of iron slag, bog iron ore, fragments from a clay-lined furnace, whale bone, a bone counter and a bone pin beater. This paper reports on the results of the work and includes an extended section on the analysis of the iron making and working evidence.<br /><br />The post-excavation analysis and reporting of the results was funded by Historic Scotland.
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Author Russel J Coleman
Effie Photos-Jones
Issue Editor Helen Bleck
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year of Publication 2008
Volume 28
ISBN 0 903903 97 4
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
Monitoring and excavation during the development of a new business park in Dornoch in 1997 revealed numerous features including a building, ditched enclosures and several hearths, all sealed beneath an artefact-rich cultivation soil. Radiocarbon dates obtained place the main period of activity here in the late 1st millennium ad. The evidence recovered also suggests a tradition of ironworking here from the early medieval period continuing through into the medieval period. A small assemblage of finds was recovered from the excavation, including quantities of iron slag, bog iron ore, fragments from a clay-lined furnace, whale bone, a bone counter and a bone pin beater. This paper reports on the results of the work and includes an extended section on the analysis of the iron making and working evidence.
2 - 4
Information on site location and the circumstances of the work are followed by a section on the historical and archaeological background.
Derek W Hall
Simon Chenery
Adrian Cox
Effie Photos-Jones
Catherine Smith
Mhairi Hastie
5 - 17
A brief account of methodology is followed by an archaeological description which is organised into four phases: phase 1 is 8th-9th centuries; phase 2 is 9th-10th centuries; phase 3 is 10th-11th centuries; phase 4 is 15th century. This is followed by a brief account of the radiocarbon dating. There are specialist reports on pottery, geochemical fingerprinting of pottery, copper alloy and bone objects, metallurgical waste analysis, faunal remains and plant remains.
Derek W Hall
9 - 10
Simon Chenery
10
Adrian Cox
10 - 13
Effie Photos-Jones
13 - 15
Catherine Smith
15 - 16
Mhairi Hastie
16 - 17
18 - 19
The structural remains, the evidence for iron-making and '“working and the, albeit limited, artefactual assemblage recovered from the Meadows Business Park suggest that Dornoch was subject to influences from both Norse and Pictish contexts. Lying on the boundary as it does between the Norse and Pictish lands and in the context of the emerging Scottish nation, the Dornoch Firth area can be seen to occupy an important point of contact where all these influences met. Perhaps we need look no further than this strategic position for the reason behind the later establishment of the see at Dornoch, but it is possible that further discoveries relating to the extent and importance of pre-burghal settlement at Dornoch remains to be made.
20
21
Russel J Coleman
Effie Photos-Jones
Monitoring and excavation during the development of a new business park in Dornoch in 1997 revealed numerous features including a building, ditched enclosures and several hearths, all sealed beneath an artefact-rich cultivation soil. Radiocarbon dates obtained place the main period of activity here in the late first millennium AD. The evidence record also suggests a tradition of ironworking here form the early medieval period continuing through into the medieval period. A small assemblage of finds was recovered from the excavation including quantities of iron slag, bog iron ore , fragments from a clay-lined furnace, whale bone, a bone counter and a bone pin beater. Reports on the results of the work and includes an extended section on the analysis of the iron-making and iron-working evidence.