EHG4260 - Trial trenching - Castle Sinclair Girnigoe



Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd (FAS)


Aug 2003


Three evaluation trenches were excavated by Field Archaeology Specialists (FAS) in August 2003 at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe in Wick, Caithness. The primary aim of evaluation was to provide access to selected parts of the fabric and foundations of the West Gatehouse, and to evaluate the nature of archaeological remains in its vicinity, which were concealed by collapsed building material. In order to establish the causes of problems with the structural integrity of the buildings, and to define methods to avoid further deterioration, the exposure of parts of the fabric of the walls, and their foundations was necessary. This allowed for structural assessment of the building to be undertaken, prior to the construction of scaffolding in 2004. Intervention 3 (Interventions 1 and 2 were assigned to a standing building survey and a topographic survey - see EHG4259 and EHG1066 respectively) was situated within the Porter's Lodge of the Outer Bailey. The trench measured 1.0m x 1.5m and was excavated to a depth of 1.40m at which point a flagstone floor was encountered. The lower 1.5m of the northwest wall of the gatehouse was also exposed in the trench. Slate, animal bones, shells, a cowrie shell bead and a clay pipe were recovered. Intervention 4 was positioned to the northeast of Intervention 3, outside the Porter's Lode, again with the intention of revealing the fabric of the northwestern elevation of the West gatehouse to foundation level. This trench measured 1.5m x 1m and was excavated to a depth of 1.2m at which depth a cobble layer was identified. The finds from this trench included several fragments of clay pipe, a copper alloy pin and sherds of window glass. Intervention 5 was at a higher level than the previous two interventions, being situated on the first floor of the West gatehouse. The 2.0m x 1.0m trench was positioned over the internal wall of the vaulted passage below. The excavation reached a depth of 1.10m revealing evidence for the upper courses of the surviving wall. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Location Wick, Caithness
Grid reference Centred ND 3780 5490 (6m by 8m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND35SE
Civil Parish WICK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Castle Sinclair Girnigoe (Monument)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Mar 14 2023 4:08PM

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