An archaeological watching brief was undertaken by AOC Archaeology Group in 2012 on behalf of Northern Constabulary during the site preparation works for a new police headquarters at Blar Mhor, Banavie, Fort William. The works involved the stripping of a large area of peat where the headquarters is due to be located as well as the stripping of a haul road and possible borrow pit locations to the north of the site.
The ground breaking works involved the stripping of peat from a 3.5 ha sub rectangular area, to be developed into the police headquarters, and a haul road and possible borrow pits to the north end of the site (approx 5.5 hectares). The area stripped for borrow pits was reduced during the works as there was less gravel required than previously thought. Additionally, the size of the haul road was reduced, as an existing access point on the adjacent site was used. All ground breaking works were conducted using a number of different 360⁰ tracked mechanical excavators, utilising toothed buckets and toothless ditching buckets. All excavation was monitored by an experienced field archaeologist. The watching brief was carried out intermittently under generally moderate weather conditions between 29th August 2012 and 10th October 2012. Overall archaeological visibility was good throughout, although the weather and the use of toothed buckets did cause some issues.
The peat within the headquarters area measured between 2m to 3m in depth, and overlay a mid grey sandy clay soil, up to 0.5m in depth. Within the haul road and borrow pit area the peat was between 1m to 2m in depth, and overlay a darker band of organic rich silt (0.1-0.2m in depth). The natural subsoil throughout the development area was a mixture of orange and yellow sand as well as orange gravels with channels of pale bluish grey sandy silt in places.
A palaeochannel and modern machine excavated pit were identified and investigated on site, but not recorded. No archaeological features or artefacts of any significance were revealed. From the geological features noted, it appears that the development area had a number of alluvial features flowing through it prior to the initiation of peat layer formation in the Middle Bronze age. These features may be consistent with flood plain processes or a marshland environment and probably ill suited for habitation. <1>
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Blàr Mòr Moss, Fort William
Centred NN 1209 7655 (441m by 612m)
ROSS SKYE AND LOCHABER
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Record last edited
Apr 25 2019 4:27PM
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