EHG5415 - Excavation - Quarry site, Wester Balblair



AOC Archaeology Group


Sept-Oct 2015


An excavation was undertaken by AOC Archaeology in 2015 in advance of the extraction (Phase 1b southern area) of further reserves of sand and gravel at Balblair Quarry, Wester Balblair, Beauly. The mitigation work followed an archaeological evaluation undertaken in May 2015 (see EHG4756). The evaluation sampled a possible burial cairn and three possible oval banked enclosures, together with a number of agricultural clearance cairns of probable prehistoric date. The mitigation works were to further investigate the possible burial cairn through excavation with the possible enclosures being subject to a programme of controlled top‐soil stripping in order to further reveal their form. The excavation of the cairn revealed no sign of any human remains or associated burial features. The feature had been severely disturbed in a number of places by tree growth, and a large infilled tree throw was present at the western end of the cairn. A dump of late C19 ceramics had been placed into the north facing matrix of the cairn. Rather than a burial mound the cairn appeared to represent a large agricultural clearance cairn of probable prehistoric date which had in turn been used as a local dump during the C19. The machine stripping of the possible banked enclosures revealed two of them to be agricultural clearance cairns focused on stony high points within the immediate locale. The third example was revealed as a large, relatively level, apsidal shaped stone spread. This feature had a possible agricultural function as a grain or hay stacker and was again of probable prehistoric date. <1> NB: the report does not contain plans of the excavated areas tied into the OS national grid. Further, in comparison with aerial photographs taken in 2015 which show the areas under excavation, it would appear that the feature excavated as HA2-7 is not the same as was evaluated earlier in the year.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1>XY Text/Report/Fieldwork Report: Engl, R. & Stirling, L.. 2015. Balblair Quarry (Phase 1b southern section), Wester Balblair, Beauly: Archaeological Mitigation report. AOC Archaeology Group. Digital. [Mapped features: #10487 ; #10488 ]



Location Wester Balblair
Grid reference Centred NH 4999 4403 (53m by 34m)
Map sheet NH44SE
Civil Parish KILMORACK
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Record last edited

Nov 10 2020 4:28PM

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