EHG4837 - Resue excavation - Freswick Castle



Scottish Development Department (Ancient Monuments)




Freswick is on the E coast of Caithness, approximately three miles S of John O'Groats. It focusses on a wide, sandy bay with cliffs to N and S. Rescue excavations took place at Freswick Castle in 1979. No previous archaeological excavation is known to have taken place at Freswick Castle. Tranter (1970) notes that the present building was probably built in the 17th century with an 18th century extension. A relatively modern 'mausoleum' built by Sir William Sinclair of Freswick House about 1670 stands on a substantial mound to the W. In September 1979, large scale renovations and digging for drains were being carried out on behalf of the owner Captain G Newell who invited an investigation into the deposits being revealed. In two short excavations, despite much modern disturbance, it was possible to identify substantial structural elements below the modern Castle building, and some related occupation phases,. The earlier occupation phases had pottery of the distinctive 'grass-tempered' type found on the neighbouring site of Freswick Links. This is conventionally dated to the Late Norse period (11th-13th centuries), but it is clear that the castle site has had occupation up to the present day. A Mediaeval site probably lies below the Garden. Biological material, and other artefactual data, is consistent with assemblages from recent work at Freswick Links. However, due to the nature of the deposits and their disturbance, it was not psosible to present either a finely-calibrated chronology or an environmental analysis on a quatitative basis. Further work at the site might clarify certain aspects of the 1979 work - as will analysis of the results from Freswick Links. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Location Freswick, Caithness
Grid reference Centred ND 3781 6707 (7m by 17m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND36NE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

  • Freswick Castle (Building)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Jan 15 2018 11:01AM

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