EHG247 - Excavation - Seafield West (Area 2), Inverness



Centre for Field Archaeology, University of Edinburgh


July-Aug 1997


Following a trial trenching exercise in April 1996 by the Centre for Field Archaeology at Seafield West, Inverness, prior to the proposed development of a retail and business park (see EHG4448) full excavation was carried out on the site of features previously identified as cropmarks. The evaluation at the southern end of the site (trenches 8 and 9) had demonstrated that a palisaded enclosure had created the cropmark and that other features existed in the immediate surrounding area. Full excavation of the area (known as Area 2 to distinguish it from a second area to the north) exposed the enclosure surrounded by the postholes and associated features of at least three timber roundhouses. One of the features was overlain by a later iron smelting hearth. A second palisaded enclosure, seen on APs, was located in the north eastern area of the trench. A series of other pits and postholes were recorded across the site The area excavated measured 60m x 40m. Prior to excavation the area had been used by the contractor as a temporary stockpile for subsoil. This was removed by mechanical excavator in order to locate the underlying plough soil which was also removed without archaeological supervision leading to some truncation of the archaeology. The project design had proposed a single excavation trench measuring 80 by 50m (4000m²) and located in reponse to the aerial photographic and geophysical evidence. However, during the final stages of the excavation the trench was extended by a further 80 by 5m (400m²) along the northern limit of the trench. This enabled the fuller definition of a number of features in the northern part of the site. <1> Subsequent post-excavation work demonstrated that the archaeological remains consisted of a series of negative features, post-holes and annular ditches which formed parts of at least nine separate structures of a late prehistoric unenclosed settlement. A mould fragment also indicated Late Bronze Age sword production in the vicinity. Some of the structural and artefactual evidence compellingly pointed to an in-situ ironworking workshop. A large cache of smithing charcoal found in association with a smelting hearth was radiocarbon dated to 180BC - AD 70 and represents one of the few dated in-situ Iron Age ironworking episodes in Scotland. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Location Seafield West
Grid reference Centred NH 6922 4535 (86m by 83m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH64NE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Iron Age settlement - Stoneyfield House (Monument)

External Links (1)

Record last edited

Jul 10 2023 3:59PM

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