New 'Iron Age' discoveries made in Inverness
Published: 15th Jul 2012 02:05:50
New discoveries made in Inverness have fuelled speculation among experts that north east Scotland was an important area of prehistoric iron production.
Rare finds of well-preserved metalworking hearths, or furnaces, have been uncovered at Beechwood during work by Edinburgh-based AOC Archaeology.
Archaeologists believe the discoveries date to the Iron Age.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is spending £25m on preparing the land for the new Inverness Campus.
The University of the Highlands and Islands and businesses will eventually occupy buildings constructed on the former farmland.
HIE commissioned AOC Archaeology to evaluate and record any buried historical sites and artefacts at Beechwood, before bulldozers moved in earlier this year.
Excavations were done in 2011 and work is now being undertaken to understand what those digs revealed.
Several timber roundhouses of possible Iron Age date - around 700BC to AD400 - as well as evidence of earlier activity in the area stretching back thousands of years into the Neolithic period 3500BC were uncovered.
Examinations of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery fragments, quern stones for grinding grain and significant quantities of iron slag are still in the early stages.
But AOC Archaeology said the finds provided "tantalising hints" of Beechwood's important past.
A spokesman said: "The metalworking evidence from Beechwood is providing clues that there were two ironworking areas on site.
"One is a possible clay-lined ironworking hearth or furnace and a dump of waste material, and the other, a spread of debris from smelting and blacksmithing which appears to come from an area now lost to modern urban expansion.
"Iron slag, the waste material left behind after smelting and blacksmithing, is not an uncommon find on archaeological sites but the survival of metalworking hearths or furnaces is much rarer.
"Radiocarbon dates from charcoal found in pits and postholes associated with the iron slag suggest that this activity took place between 400 and 100BC, making it Iron Age in date."
He added: "This new discovery is just one of an increasing number of ironworking sites in the area found over the last 15 years which is leading experts to speculate that north east Scotland may have been an important focal area for iron production in later prehistory."
The metalworking at Beechwood may have been taking place at the same time as that at nearby Culduthel, AOC Archaeology said.
Well-preserved Iron Age furnaces and roundhouses were found at Culduthel in 2005.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. New 'Iron Age' discoveries made in Inverness. [Online] (Updated 15 Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1440569-New-Iron-Age-discoveries-made-in-Inverness [Accessed 17th May 2013]
At 20:05:39 in OtherProposals to tighten the law governing dangerous dogs will not prevent further tragedies like the death of 14-year-old Jade Anderson, an MP ...
At 19:49:09 in OtherThree hundred new jobs are being created at a Greater Manchester manufacturing firm. ...
At 13:29:23 in OtherThe £3,000 Orwell Book Prize for political writing has been won by AT Williams for his book A Very British Killing: The Death of Baha Mousa....
At 13:25:39 in OtherA £70m biomass incinerator will be built in Greater Manchester despite residents' health fears....
At 13:25:11 in OtherMore than 230 coal jobs have been saved after an energy and waste services group bought parts of collapsed surface mining firm Aardvark (TMC...
At 11:30:09 in OtherA 14-year-old youth has been arrested in Bradford on suspicion of raping a six year-old boy....
At 07:54:41 in OtherA woman who was washed downstream after falling into a river in Greater Manchester has been rescued by the emergency services....
At 07:24:40 in OtherTwelve people have been arrested after raids in Greater Manchester by officers investigating a £3.8m internet-based drugs ring....
At 06:40:10 in OtherTo many, the picture postcard city of Oxford is all about its universities, ancient cobbled streets and dreaming spires....
At 04:26:13 in OtherTougher laws to tackle the threat of dangerous dogs and irresponsible owners do not go far enough, MPs have said....
News In Other Categories
The Parades Commission is an organisation which ideally wants to be out of business....
A number of Brentford fans say they have had money fraudulently withdrawn from their bank accounts after buying tickets for the upcoming pla...
A doctor who worked for the private company which assesses people for disability benefits says its methods are "unfair"....
Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said the Conservatives "don't need to panic about UKIP" and should try to avoid "i...
German researchers have discovered the biological keys to the success of an invasive species, wreaking havoc across Europe and the US...
Paul Shane, the actor famous for starring in the 1980s BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, has died, his agent has confirmed....