An archaeological evaluation was carried out at Culduthel Mains Farm, Inverness by Headland Archaeology in 2005 in advance of the development of residential housing. The work was carried out as Phases 7 and 8 of a series of housing developments in the area. The area proposed for development measured approximately 5.66ha. The evaluation consisted of trial trenching, using a mechanical excavator, a minimum 5% sample of the total area. This equated to 1400m linear using a tracked excavator fitted with a 2m ditching bucket. The proposed strategy had a degree of flexibility built-in allowing a combination of linear trenches and open boxes. In total, 80% of the linear trenching was employed to define the limits of the archaeology; 20% of the trenching was kept in reserve to investigate features where necessary. Any remaining trenching was deployed randomly across the site. A total of 19 trenches were excavated and positioned in a way that compensated for the undulating topography while maximising the probability of locating archaeological features. Trenches 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 14 and 16 contained archaeological features. Pipe trenches and/or rubble drains were located in trenches 5, 12, 14, 16 and 18. The remaining trenches were devoid of archaeological features.
Two possible prehistoric structures were identified in the evaluation, the remains of a post-built structure in Trench 3 and a possible ring-groove in Trench 14. A large feature containing charcoal and fire-cracked stones was identified in Trench 8, and is thought to be the possible remains of a kiln. Prehistoric pottery, charred grain and apple pips was recovered from some of the postholes and the possible kiln. The majority of other features are undated isolated pits and postholes. Although no pottery evidence was recovered from these features, the presence of a small amount of worked flint coupled with the nature of the charred plant remains indicates a possible Neolithic or Iron Age date. <1>
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