EHG6092 - Trial excavation - Balvattie (Tarradale Through Time)



Highland Archaeology Services Ltd


Sept 2018


A programme of archaeological evaluation and recording was undertaken by Highland Archaeology Services in 2018 at the site of suggested medieval activity at Balvattie, Tarradale, by a team of volunteers and members of the public as part of the ongoing Tarradale Through Time research project. Fieldwork involved the excavation of five evaluation trenches, each of which targeted separate cropmark features visible on aerial photographs. The trenches confirmed the presence of buried archaeological deposits consistent with aerial photographs at some locations although two of the five cuttings were archaeologically sterile. Excavated features included a recut ditch and a series of associated post-pits, postholes, a linear ditch and a spread hearth deposit in Trench 3, the former consistent with a large circular enclosure indicated by a well-defined cropmark on aerial photographs. Trench 4 was opened over the location of a large subcircular cropmark and revealed a large pit up to 1.5m deep of unknown function. The pit contained a sequence of well-defined fill deposits which indicate that it may have been open for an extended period and filled with differing source material in a series of discreet episodes. Trench 6 revealed part of a deep straight-sided ditch with a squared terminal, which had a deep posthole directly adjacent to the terminal. The features recorded in Trench 3 produced just a few sherds of stratified later prehistoric pottery although most other features identified in the trenches were aceramic. The ditch recorded in Trench 6 also failed to produce any dating evidence. Deposits containing charred plant material were identified in Trenches 3 and 4. Evaluation Trenches 5 and 8 failed to locate any significant archaeological deposits. The primary fieldwork evidence indicated that most of the archaeological activity identified on the site was likely to be of later prehistoric origin and associated with a series of circular or rectilinear enclosures, most likely agricultural, which appear to have been located some distance from the focus of associated occupation. Evidence for later, medieval and post-medieval, activity on the site was restricted to a small collection of pottery sherds. No substantial evidence for intensive medieval activity was identified. The interim report set out the preliminary results of the project and all record tables. It included recommendations for a final stage of post-excavation analysis and reporting work to ensure that the archaeological evidence recorded on the site is fully examined, understood and disseminated. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Location Balvattie, Tarradale
Grid reference Centred NH 5424 4902 (85m by 42m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

  • Enclosure - 350m SE of Gilchrist (Monument)
  • Large pit - 350m SE of Gilchrist (Monument)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 1 2023 11:57AM

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