MHG54071 - Possible prehistoric industrial site, Slackbuie


An area of pits and postholes were recorded as part of excavations at Slackbuie. These features were too dispersed to associate them with any structure. It is suggested that a pit contained the waster products from an industrial process such as metal-ore processing. Alternatively, it may represent a storage pit.

Type and Period (4)

  • PIT? (Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 551 BC)
  • STORAGE PIT? (Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 1250 BC to 1 AD)
  • POST HOLE? (Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 551 BC)
  • (Alternate Type) INDUSTRIAL SITE? (Middle Bronze Age to Late Bronze Age - 1500 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

In December 2006 Headland Archaeology Ltd were commissioned to undertake an archaeological evaluation in advance of a proposed development at Slackbuie, Inverness. Ninety-six trial trenches were excavated and two distinct areas containing evidence of significant archaeological remains were identified. In Area B, a number of features indicative of a industrial activity were noted in evaluation trenches 38, 40, 48 & 49. Finds from Area B comprised two iron objects, slag and hammer scale from a small, truncated pit, indicating metalworking was being carried out in the locality. A possible prehistoric date has been suggested for these features.
A large post hole/pit, probably of early date given the similarity of this feature with post holes discovered as part of structures from the 1st and 2nd century AD remains from Culduthel Phase 5, was also recorded. <1>

In March and April 2007 SUAT Ltd were commissioned to undertake an archaeological excavation of the two areas of archaeological interest previously identifed by Headland Archaeology. In Area B, a group of postholes, two small hearth features and a pit were recorded during subsequent excavation. The pit contained heat affected stones, and a possible interpretation is that this represents the by-products of an industrial process which was happening off-site. Alternatively, this may represent a backfilled posthole, where the post had been burnt in situ. A C14 date came from a charred barley grain, of late Bronze Age or early Iron Age date. This raises an alternative interpretation, that the pit is actually a storage pit. <2>

The radiocarbon dates cited in the text of <2> are erroneous. The C14 date obtained from area B is an Bronze Age date; the radiocarbon dating certificates as produced by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre are included in Appendix 1 of this report, and this appendix, rather than the dates in the text, should be consulted regarding the radiocarbon dates produced from the site for the 2007 excavation. GW 10/05/19

The RCAHMS record refers to two discrete areas of activity. This record (MHG54071) refers to the activity, centred on the pit with a possible industrial function, in Area B. See MHG51720 for activity in Area A. <3>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NH 6748 4199 (139m by 126m)
Map sheet NH64SE
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (4)

  • CEREAL GRAIN (Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2400 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • HAMMERSCALE (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SLAG (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Iron Age - 550 BC? to 560 AD?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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