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Name:Excavation - Chapel Hill, Ballachly, Dunbeath
Organisation:University of Nottingham
Date:June-July 2010


A final season of excavations was carried out by the University of Nottingham, with assistance from volunteers, in 2010 at the supposed early Christian monastic site at Ballachly, near Dunbeath. The season saw the completion of work on the features on Chapel Hill and further excavation in the area to its west. The trench on Chapel Hill itself, opened in 2009 (see EHG3164) (Trench XII) was partially re-opened and the building cleared down to floor level. There was no evidence for domestic occupation, which may have indicated that it could have been ecclesiastical. No dating evidence was recovered. An extension to this trench was made westwards towards the edge of the summit of Chapel Hill, initially comprising an area of 11m x 8m and later extended to examaine some features encountered within the area (Trench XIV). Two sondages (Trenches XV and XVI) were dug in the area to the northwest of Trench VI, initially 2m x 2m, of which one (Trench XV) was subsequently by 1m south and 1.1m east, to form an L-shped sondage. A piece of whate appeared to have been late medieval window glass was recovered in Trench XV and there was some evidence for the former existence of long-cist graves in Trench XVI, largely washed away, in the form of flat slabs. Further investigation of the ditch and enclosing wall, believed to have defined the scond phase of the site was undertaken to the southeast of Wall A, between the wall and Trench III (excavated in 2008 - see EHG2992) in trenches XVIII and XIX. Trench XIX measured 2m x 2m was found to be filled with deposited stones and gravel from the episodes of flooding. <1>

Type(s) of Investigation


Grid Reference:Centred ND 157 303 (45m by 45m)
Map Sheet:ND13SE
Civil Parish:LATHERON
Geographical Area:CAITHNESS
Location:Chapel Hill, Ballachly, Dunbeath

Associated Finds - none

Sources and further reading

  • Text/Publication/Article: Laing, L.. 2011. Ballachly, Dunbeath: Excavation. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland Vol.11 (2010). 98-99. Paper (Original).

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