MHG22344 - Norse occupation - Marymas Green, Dunnet


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • SETTLEMENT (Early Medieval to Medieval - 561 AD to 1559 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Renumbered from ND27SW0072

ND 219 708 and ND 218 708
Examinations of rabbit scrapes in a number of prominent raised features in an old dune system, now rough pasture, yielded burnt stone, animal and fish bone, shell and charcoal. Grass-tempered potsherds were recovered from four different features, one of these also yielding slag. A more detailed examination of area is in progress and has identified remains of walling within six of features. It is tentatively concluded that remains identified to date represent ten Norse structures. It is likely that site is related to an adjacent Norse site that was subject of a limited excavation carried out by T Pollard (ND27SW 35) (Pollard 1995, 38; NMRS MS 275/113).
A test pit dug in writer's garden (adjacent to site) to establish a soil profile identified an occupation level 1200mm below modern surface and underlying 800mm of blown sand. The layer consisted of dense blue clay containing small fragments of a carbonaceous material (not charcoal). Fragments of bone and two small potsherds were also found in clay. It is not clear if the level relates to Norse site or is pre-Norse.
P D Humphreys 1996; DES 1996, 62

ND27SW 46 Centred 219 708
Limited excavation of archaeological features, including a shell midden deposit, first observed eroding from an exposed sand dune section took place at Marymas Green, Dunnet Bay, Caithness. The excavated area is situated W of road heading N into Marymas Green, immediately before bend in road. Exacavations revealed a series of stone walls, some of which appear to represent buildings, and buried soil horizons, which prior to being covered by blown sand may have supported arable agriculture. On purely typological grounds presence of a decorated bone pin and antler comb may suggest activity on site ranging from pre-Viking (8th century AD) to late Norse periods (12th-14th century AD). A fragment of a shale bracelet was also found, examples of which run from Bronze Age through to Dark Age. The recovery of grass-tempered pottery to east of site may indicate further activity extending across road beyond confines of excavated area.
T Pollard 1996; NMRS MS 725/113

The comb is dated on typological grounds to the 12th – 14th century, the pin to perhaps the 8th c AD. <1>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred ND 2190 7080 (160m by 160m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND27SW
Civil Parish DUNNET
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (9)

  • VESSEL (Undated)
  • SLAG (Undated)
  • FISH REMAINS (Undated)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • BRACELET (Undated)
  • COMB (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PIN (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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