A later prehistoric settlement and metalworking site at Seafield West, near Inverness, Highland

Authors: Michael Cressey and Sue Anderson

Contributors: Ann Clarke, Trevor Cowie, Fraser Hunter, Andrew Heald, Katherine Eremin, Melanie Johnson, Ruth Pelling, Ian Mack and Gerry McDonnell

Summary: Construction in 1996 at a major retail development site close to Inverness, Highland (NGR: NH 694 445) resulted in the destruction of two known cropmark sites. One set of cropmarks was found to be associated with a Bronze Age log-boat burial site and the results of the ensuing excavation are published elsewhere (Cressey & Sheridan 2003). The excavation of a second area of cropmarks forms the subject of this publication. The archaeological remains consisted of a series of negative features, post-holes and annular ditches which form parts of at least nine separate structures of a later prehistoric unenclosed settlement. A mould fragment indicated Late Bronze Age sword production in the vicinity. A palisaded enclosure produced a copper-alloy brooch that is a rare find for the region. Evidence of copper-alloy objects and metalworking from a smelting hearth and slags show that the occupants were of some status. Some of the structural and artefactual evidence compellingly points to an in situ ironworking workshop. A large cache of smithing charcoal found in association with a smelting hearth was radiocarbon dated to 180BC–AD70 and represents one of the few dated in situ Iron Age ironworking episodes in Scotland.

Keywords: Postholes, Cropmarks, Charcoal, Ditches, Slags, Cropmark, Sword, Metalworking, Palisaded Enclosure, Logboat Burial, Copperalloy Brooch, Settlement, Hearth, Ironworking

Periods: prehistoric, Iron Age, Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age

Location: Highland, Scotland,UK

Published: 01-01-2011