Early medieval settlement and ironworking in Dornoch, Sutherland excavations at The Meadows Business Park

Author(s): Russel Coleman, Effie Photos-Jones

Contributor(s): Simon Chenery, Adrian Cox, Derek Hall, Mhairi Haistie, Catherine Smith

Summary: 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.

The post-excavation analysis and reporting of the results was funded by Historic Scotland.

Keyword(s): Building Ditched Enclosures, Settlement, Bone, Ironworking Evidence, Iron Slag Bog Iron, Bone Pin Beater

Period(s): Early Medieval

Location(s): NGR: NH 797 895

ISBN: 0 903903 97 4

Published: 01-01-2008