An archaeological survey on the famous Scots isle of Iona – where St Columba landed 1450 years ago to spread Christianity in Scotland – has shown signs of ancient burials.
This is the first geophysical investigation to be undertaken away from the core focus of the Columban monastic enclosure and the Benedictine Abbey.
The surveys were carried out on National Trust for Scotland land on the island by Dr Sue Ovenden and Alastair Wilson of Rose Geophysical Consultants.
The pair examined two areas in the fields to the south of the village - one close to the current village hall and south of the Nunnery and the other at Martyr’s Bay.
The area close to the village hall seems to show features of recent or natural origin which will be excavated later this year. Read more.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS are planning a major dig to uncover one of the lost Kingdoms of the ancient Picts, the tribe of legendary warriors whose empire stretched from Fife to the Moray Firth before they mysteriously vanished from history.
Until recently historians had believed that Fortriu - one of the most powerful Kingdoms of the “painted people” - had been based in Perthshire.
But recent research has now placed the Pictish stronghold much further north to the Moray Firth area.
And it was revealed today that a team of archaeologists from Aberdeen University are to embark on a series of excavations on the Tarbat peninsula in Ross-shire where archaeologists have already uncovered evidence of the only Pictish monastic settlement found in Scotland to date. Read more.
If you enjoy the coast, know about your local heritage – or want to explore it further, you could make a real contribution to a national project which is being run by The SCAPE Trust and the University of St Andrews.
The Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk project is looking for volunteers who can visit threatened coastal archaeological and historical sites in their local areas to take photographs, record their current condition and contribute information to a national database of coastal archaeological sites.
Of the 1,000 archaeological sites around Scotland short-listed as the highest priority for action because of their importance and risk of loss as a result of erosion, nearly a quarter are in Orkney. Read more.
OVER 300 new archaeological sites have been found in Caithness – some dating back 3000 years – in a survey which is “beginning to rewrite the history of northern mainland Scotland”.
The work was carried out using a technique know as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) which uses a laser to scan the ground from an aeroplane.
The survey was commissioned by Baillie Windfarm Ltd after it was required to record the landscape surrounding the nationally significant cluster of Neolithic chambered cairns at Hill of Shebster. The company asked AOC Archaeology Group to carry out the work.
The main focus of the survey was Cnoc Freiceadain, a prominent shoulder rising above the northern coast of Caithness, which is the site of a spectacular group of Neolithic monuments, including two long cairns and a series of stone settings. Read more.
After storms lashed Scotland over the holidays, some strange World War II-era relics turned up on the country’s chilly coast, including decades-old lard from a shipwreck and bunker blocks buried on a beach.
At St. Cyrus Natural Reserve, about 100 miles (160 km) north of Edinburgh, four large chunks of lard washed up after the storms. Though their wooden containers disintegrated long ago, the lard chunks retained their barrel shape and they were still bright white under a thick crust of barnacles, local officials said.
“The depth of the swell during the storms we had over the holidays must have broke apart the shipwreck some more and caused the lard to escape,” Therese Alampo, manager at the reserve, said in a statement from Scottish Natural Heritage. Read more.
THE remains of an ancient dwelling believed to be Scotland’s oldest house have been discovered on the banks of the River Forth.
Experts say the Stone Age timber structure – which may have resembled the wigwams constructed by North American Indians – was built more than 10,000 years ago, possibly as a winter retreat, in the period after the last ice age.
It was discovered in a field outside the village of Echline, near South Queensferry, during routine archaeological excavations in advance of work on the new Forth Replacement Crossing over the Forth estuary and contained flint arrowheads used by the original occupants.
Dated from the mesolithic era, the remains consist of a large oval pit, seven metres long and half a metre deep, with a series of holes which would have held upright wooden posts. Read more.
Archaeologists launched a bid to uncover the site one of the most famous battles in Scottish history — in the grounds of a police headquarters.
Central Scotland Police’s headquarters at Randolphfield, Stirling, is named after Sir Thomas Randolph, one of the commanders of Robert the Bruce’s army at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The first major skirmish of the two-day battle occurred on Sunday 23 June when Randolph routed around 300 English cavalry, who were attempting to relieve Stirling Castle.
A pair of small standing stones near the entrance to the current police headquarters is believed to mark the site of the fighting, but until now there has been no other physical evidence. Read more.
A recent Heritage Lottery funded archaeological excavation has discovered a hitherto forgotten early medieval royal stronghold in Scotland.
Trusty’s Hill, near Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway, is best known for the Pictish Symbols carved into a natural rock outcrop at the fort’s entrance. However, in recent years, many historians have begun to doubt whether these carvings were genuine, some even suggesting that the carvings are forgeries. The Galloway Picts Excavation, led by the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society and funded in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, sought to find out why there are Pictish Carvings here, so far from the Pictish heartlands in the north-east of Scotland, and if the carvings are indeed genuine. Read more.