A series of excavation trenches and a watching brief were carried out by Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd (FAS) in August-September 2007 at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe in Wick, Caithness. Two excavation trenches and a watching brief were carried out in the location designed for a new access path (Interventions 28, 29 and 30). An excavation designed for public participation was carried out in the South Barbican (Intervention 31) and three further interventions (32, 33 and 34) were carried out in the location of proposed pier bases for a new bridge in the dry moat, West Barbican and the West Gatehouse.
Intervention 28 measured a maximum 10.40m NW-SE, by 2.60m NE-SW. Erosion to the northeast, and the natural gradient of the area, meant that hand-excavation was only necessary in a small area (c.4.60m x 2.80m), and to the north, the investigation was confined to the consolidation of a section across the hillside. Deposits were recorded to a maximum depth of 0.85m BGL (17.29m AOD), at which point natural bedrock was encountered, sealed by 0.19m of natural yellowish-brown silt.
Intervention 29 was situated at the eastern end of the new access path. The excavated trench measured a maximum 3.70m NW-SE and 3.55m NE-SW. The trench was irregular in plan, with the northern edge represented by the natural scarp of the eroding slope. Excavation was carried out to a maximum depth of 0.45m (18.15m AOD), at which point clean yellowish-brown subsoil and slate bedrock were encountered.
Intervention 32 was situated to the northeast of the newly constructed pathway, on the upper slopes of the dry moat. The NW-SE aligned trench measured a maximum 2.80m x 1.30m, and was excavated to a depth of 1.32m BGL (13.62m AOD), for the construction of a bridge pier.
Intervention 33 was excavated in preparation for a viewing area, adjacent to the southwestern end of the new bridge, and adjoining Intervention 7. The area was irregular in shape, measuring a maximum 4.30m north-south x 6.40m east-west, and was excavated to a depth of up to 0.40m BGL.
Intervention 34 was excavated to receive the northeastern bridge pier, and was situated immediately outside the West Gatehouse passage. The trench was excavated against the vertical edge of the natural bedrock, and measured a maximum 2.5m NW-SE and 2.0m NE-SW. Excavation was carried out to a maximum depth of 0.85m BGL (15.53m AOD). <1>
Note: There is no discussion on Intervention 30 (watching brief) or Intervention 31 (public archaeology in the South Barbican), nor is the location of Intervention 31 shown on any plan. It was the intention to report on the public archaeology projects in a separate report (still outstanding as of 25/03/2015).
Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Clark, J & Toop, N. 2007. Castle Sinclair Girnigoe: Archaeological Investigation: Report October 2007. Field Archaeology Specialists Ltd (FAS). Digital.
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