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Well, as a start to spring 2017, we have backfilled the main dig site as a final conclusion to our fieldwork project. While this has come as a surprise to many of our Cromarty friends, this is the natural conclusion to any excavation site. We have spent several amazing summers digging in Cromarty and Steven and I both agree that our results have been superb and we have achieved most of what was possible from the excavation of this area.


Steven has built a lovely wall around the entrance to the well, which we will enclose in a post and wire fence with interpretation to follow. All of the visitors this week have been pleased to hear that the landowner has allowed us to retain this as a feature of the shoreline walk. And thank you so much to Sandy Cameron for doing a fine job with the backfilling!


At the November 2016 specialist conference, I promised to tell our supporters about the results of the radiocarbon dates selected from the site! Well, it’s been a while coming but here are the dating results from discrete samples:


Sample of burnt barley from the grain-drying kiln in the Walled Garden – 1049-1259 AD

Sample of burnt barley from the earliest/primary burning event – 1283-1397 AD

Sample of a cattle bone from below the lowest slabbed vennel – 1222-1292 AD

Sample of horse bone from the carcass in the base of the well – 1482-1650 AD


In a nutshell, the dates support our stratigraphy, which is, of course, good. I should also say that the typological dating of the artefacts combined with the stratigraphy will enhance and complement this dataset. So, the range of dates so far has provided information about the time periods of the primary burning event and earliest occupation that took place on this site definitely happened by the 13th century. And this definitely supports the ceramic evidence. Interestingly the first date, from a sample from the kiln in the Walled Garden, could overlap with this earliest phase or could pre-date it. This date range lines up with the date (1040-1290A D) from a wooden post found in situ during the installation of the new water main on the west side of the site (during previous works undertaken by Stuart Farrell). So we clearly have a medieval settlement within the mid 11th to mid 13th century.


The horse carcass deposited in the base of the well, which formed a closing event for the well, has unfortunately provided a wider date range, as early as the late 15th century up to the middle of the 17th century. However, based on the artefactual material from the ash layer covering this feature and the building on top of that, the well should date to the earliest part of this range.


We are now analysing the results and the programme of post-excavation work continues!




We were delighted to contribute to the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of History Scotland! Follow the link to view our article...



11 November 201612TH NOVEMBER EVENT

CROMARTY: The Evolution of a Scottish Coastal Burgh


The committee is looking forward to welcoming all of our visitors coming to free, public seminar on November 12th at the Stables in Cromarty. We have an amazing group of specialists ready and excited about presenting the results of 4 years of excavation! 

We will will be providing tea/coffee and home baking at the start of the seminar at 9:30 at the Stables. It will be open from 9:00 so you're welcome to arrive earlier. We hope to begin the morning session promptly at 9:50. We will break from lunch at 12:15 so that we can return to the Stables at 13:30 for a prompt start for the afternoon session. The attached information sheet has more details.


Directions to the Stables, Cromarty, IV11 8XS by car:

From the A9, follow the A832 to Cromarty. Follow the road downhill, passing Victoria Hall and along High Street until you reach the sharp right hand bend along Shore Street. Follow Shore Street along and pass straight through the junction of Miller Lane and Burnside Place (the Old Brewery is on the right), continue straight ahead. Turn a sharp right hand bend on to the Causeway and climb the hill following the blue signs for the Stables, which is the second entrance on your right. Parking is available on site and there will be overflow parking space (the first right turn) close by in the grounds of Cromarty House, which will be signposted. 

Cromarty Medieval Burgh site - start of the 2013 excavation



CROMARTY: The evolution of a Scottish Coastal Burgh

1-day seminar on 12th November 2016, the Stables, Cromarty

The Cromarty dig committee has organised a FREE seminar for the public to hear about the results of an amazing 4 years of digging on the Cromarty Medieval Burgh dig site! The project directors will be joined by local historian David Alston, and the team of artefact specialists, Derek Hall and George Haggarty (ceramics), Gemman Cruickshanks (small finds, National Museums Scotland), Ann Clarke (stone), Robin Murdoch (glass), Triin Aadli (animal bone, University of Edinburgh) to present a comprehensive summary of the interpretation.

The committee will be providing tea/coffee during the seminar. Lunch will be provided for a £5 fee in the Old Brewery and a fantastic evening meal with wine and local beer (£15) will be held following the seminar at 6pm in the Old Brewery, Cromarty. The event is open to all of the public, but spaces are limited, so booking is essential. Limited accommodation is available at the Old Brewery and there are many accommodation venues available in the town.

Contact info@medievalcromarty.org for a booking form!

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