MHG54241 - Corn drying kiln - Area 3, Lochloy, Nairn


A corn drying kiln, with associated features, recorded during trial trenching.

Type and Period (4)

  • CORN DRYING KILN (Early Medieval - 561 AD to 1057 AD) + Sci.Date
  • POST HOLE (Early Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 1501 BC) + Sci.Date
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • POST HOLE (Unknown date)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Stuart Farrell was commissioned by Kylauren Homes Ltd in late October 2006 to undertake a programme of archaeological trial trenching and any required excavation on the site of a proposed housing development to the east of Nairn. This work formed phases 6 to 9 of the Lochloy development, Balmakeith, Nairn.
A desktop survey had recognised one archaeological site to be recorded in the proposed area of development, the cropmark of an enclosure visible in aerial photographs. However, geophysical survey conducted in 2000 failed to locate this. Trial trenching conducted in late October – late November 2006 was negative for any remains of the enclosure but revealed a number of archaeological features, including kilns, hearths, pits, postholes, and other features.
These findings in turn led to seven areas of excavation being conducted. Radiocarbon dating revealed a multi-period site with Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and early medieval features: at least one Early Neolithic timber structure, two groups of pits of Bronze Age date, three hearths of Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age dates, and four kilns, two of which were of the early medieval period.
Due to heavy ploughing over the site, most of the features revealed were very shallow, consequently few finds were made limiting sources for dating, although it remains possible that the area in question has seen only sporadic periods of use.

In Area 3 a figure-eight corn-drying kiln was revealed with a wind-break of post-holes and stake-holes, two pits closeby may be associated with the kiln. A linear alignment of post-holes and a singular pit were also revealed. No dateable finds were made in relation to any of these features.
The kiln was comprised of three fills and measured 2.37m x 1.28m x 0.30m deep and had steep sides and a rounded base. Radiocarbon dating of the charcoal from the lower fill provided an early medieval date range of 710-870 AD (calibrated to 1 sigma). To the SW, W and N of this feature were three stakeholes/postholes which possibly formed some kind of wind-break for the kiln.
Towards the centre of the site were three features; a pit, a posthole and a possible hearth. The pit comprised of an upper fill and a lower fill, measuring 450mm by 610mm and 220mm deep. The possible hearth was partly truncated by ploughing; it was sub-oval in plan, with a shallow edge, irregular base, measuring 1.06m x 0.74m across the axes, but was only 0.02m deep.
The posthole contained an upper fill of dark grey-brown sandy-silt with patches of pale orange sand. Rounded stones and flecks of charcoal were included in the fill, especially toward the base. In the NE corner were the remains of a carbonised stake. The cut, measuring 1.02m by 1m x c0.67m deep, had steep sides. Two other fragments of timber were revealed but gauging their basal extent was not possible due to rising water table. At time of excavation these were thought to be some kind of platform associated with the kiln, but radiocarbon dating of the fill revealed a date range of 2290-2140 BC (calibrated to 1 sigma), making it much earlier than the corn-drying kiln. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 9019 5680 (19m by 9m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH95NW
Civil Parish NAIRN
Geographical Area NAIRN

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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