A full monitoring programme was undertaken by GUARD in August 2006 and March 2008 during the construction of a new NTS visitor centre at the site of the battle of Culloden. Earlier investigations by geophysical and metal detector surveys, controlled excavation and test pitting had suggested that the development footprint of the new visitor centre and ancillaries would be archaeologically safe, and this proved to be the case. No significant structural features were found in any of the excavated areas, and artefact retrieval was only achieved by the ongoing metal detector surveys of the topsoil, subsoil and spoil. This produced a few musket balls and other assorted battle-related objects, most of which showed signs of heavy plough damage. Apart from validating the previous predictions of archaeologically safe zones, the value of the monitoring was in its ability to identify the degree of post-1746 agricultural improvement and sustained forestry programmes across the battlefield. Both regimes brought extensive impacts and terrain modifications which can now be quantified and related to the survivability of battle features and any earlier deposits and structures in the immediate area.
Previous work in the battlefield area had shown that the paths representing the opposing Government and Jacobite battle lines were incorrectly positioned, and new paths were laid out along more accurate alignments. The footpaths in the core area of the battlefield, known as the Clan Cemetery and designated a SAM, were also realigned and brought back to run along the old course of the B9006 road which ran through the cemetery area until the 1970s. The footpath monitoring results were also negligible, with no structural discoveries and only a handful of minor artefacts. One battle-related question which was partially resolved was the discovery of a much older (albeit undated) trackway sequence under the former B9006 road into the battlefield from the west. This is in keeping with contemporary maps which show a track through the battlefield to Leanach cottage, and this may have influenced how the conflict progressed. <1>
Still awaiting final report.
Text/Publication/Article: Lynn, David. 2008. Culloden Battlefield Memorial Project: Watching Brief. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. 103.
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