EHG5910 - Excavation - Lost Inverlael: Finding Balblair Project



Highland Archaeology Services Ltd


April-May 2022


Two targeted excavations were undertaken by members of the local community and led by Highland Archaeology Services between the 19th and 24th of April 2022 and the 10th and 15th of May 2022 at Inverlael Township. A previous community excavation took place on the site in 2021 (see EHG5909) and was reported on separately. Although known through documentary sources, the site located at the south end of Loch Broom was until 2021 entirely un-excavated. These limited excavations formed part of a wider project which included a walkover survey (see EHG5908) and will include a post-excavation research design (PERD). These excavations were primarily a training exercise but also aimed to attain dating and occupation evidence for structures on the south and north side of the River Lael. The 2022 excavations comprised five trenches, each targeting different structures identified during the walkover survey. The Interim report aimed to make the initial findings available to all interested parties as soon as possible. Further reports and recommendations will follow later in 2022. <1> A final report on the excavations was produced in 2024. Although the excavations were small scale and targeted the findings implied a large community living across the main or lower part of the site around the time it was cleared. The findings also clearly implied a greater time depth to the site back into the 1600’s. In addition, there was good evidence for a prosperous community with large scale grain processing and a scatter of more expensive imported items. The results from this work presented some obvious areas for more work that may answer more questions about Inverlael and about post-medieval rural settlement and economy in the Highlands. The work was targeted in geographic area and limited in scope of excavation. It demonstrated a potential to recover material indicating domestic use and status. The limitations were linked to limited/poor dating and shallow stratigraphy. It was recommended that further work be carried out to gain a better understanding of the wider community of Inverlael. This should include: fuller survey of the shielings and outlying structures; Excavation to find the mill; Further excavation to understand structure A24; Excavation of suitable shielings; Loch Maree glass making. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Location Inverlael, Loch Broom
Grid reference Centred NH 1884 8542 (57m by 194m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH18NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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Record last edited

May 27 2024 2:04PM

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