MHG49950 - Iron Age occupation and metalworking - Culduthel Farm, Inverness


An extensive Iron Age hut circle settlement and metal-working area exposed and recording during excavations by Headland Archaeology and Alba Archaeology in 2005.

Type and Period (3)

  • METAL WORKING SITE (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • GLASS WORKING SITE (Late Iron Age - 2 AD? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A watching brief during a topsoil strip and subsequent excavation were carried out by Headland Archaeology and Alba Archaeology between June 2005 and February 2006 on a development site for Tulloch Homes at Culduthel, designated 'Phase 5'. This revealed multi-period use of the site from the prehistoric through to the ?2nd century AD. The more important element of the site was the Iron Age occupation. A slightly oval enclosure (see MHG32413) located first in the earlier evaluation measured 52m by 41m with a southwest-facing entrance. The enclosure had one phase, and while the interior contained a number of truncated pits and postholes no obvious buildings, other than a four-post structure, could be identified. The main settlement activity was to the north-west and northeast of the enclosure. The area to the northeast contained a large cobbled work area from which abundant metalworking debris was recovered. The northwest area contained a total of 19 buildings, 16 of which were roundhouses. Six were situated on flat ground at the top of a small rise; one contained an iron-smelting furnace and was clearly a workshop, another was a substantial roundhouse, some 18m in diameter. At the base of the small rise were a further 11 roundhouses, a stone-built workshop and what has been tentatively interpreted as a Bronze Age ring-ditch house. One roundhouse was extremely large, 19.5 m in diameter, and was situated in an area of deep hillwash. This had been exceptionally well preserved along with an area of industrial deposits with a deep stratigraphic sequence relating to the production of iron, copper alloys, glass (with fragments interpreted as the remains of a Roman vessel) and enamel. A total of 9 iron-smelting furnaces were found in this area, with the last firing in situ. All but one were in a roundhouse. The range of buildings and their good preservation was considered unusual. <1>

Further analysis and final dating of the finds assemblage and site in general are awaited.

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 663 414 (144m by 91m)
Map sheet NH64SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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