MHG54243 - Possible Neolithic Rectangular Hall - Area 5, Lochloy, Nairn


The postholes of a round/oval building were recorded during trial trenching.

Type and Period (3)

  • TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING? (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • PIT (Undated)
  • HEARTH (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC) + Sci.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.

A group of features were excavated in Area 5, including pits, a hearth and post holes of a rectangular building. One of the post holes contained pottery, however, only one sherd was was identifiable to type and period: a body sherd with a smooth finish and fine fabric from an Early Neolithic carinated bowl without decoration.
The main feature of this area was a series of postholes forming a rectangular structure with possible associated features outside. There was no sign of a hearth inside the building. The structure was comprised of 14 post-holes and was aligned NE-SE with a possible gap to the SE indicating an entrance way. The postholes were on average 240mm-660mm in size and 70mm-370mm in depth. Most of the postholes to the SW corner of the building were damaged by ploughing. Radiocarbon dating of the charcoal from the posthole which contained the pottery gave a Mesolithic date range of 5730-5660 BC (calibrated to 1 sigma) and therefore is likely residual charcoal.
Immediately outside the structure to the NW was a pit and to the N of this were two other large pits, both having traces of charcoal but no finds. The second of these had two postholes, one each side of unknown function. To the NW were a posthole, a pit and a hearth. The hearth contained black sandy-silt with fire-cracked and unburnt stones, and was heavy with charcoal. It was sub-oval in plan, with moderate sides and a flat base. Dating of the charcoal from the fill provided a Neolithic date range of 3520-3370 BC (calibrated to 1 sigma). <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 9007 5694 (16m by 16m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH95NW
Civil Parish NAIRN
Geographical Area NAIRN

Finds (1)

  • SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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