MHG54326 - Structural remains and other features, Crathie, Laggan


The ruinous remains of a dry stone structure/building with possible hearth identified during an archaeological evaluation. Radiocarbon dating has returned a probable Early Iron Age for the hearth.

Type and Period (3)

  • STRUCTURE (Late Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 790 BC? to 510 AD?)
  • HEARTH (Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 790 BC? to 510 BC?) + Sci.Date
  • FEATURE (Unknown date)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A probable wall footing from a stone building or structure [701] was identified during archaeological trial trenching in February 2011. This measured 1.3m long by up to 0.68m wide and stood no taller than 0.22m in height. To the west of the feature was a possible hearth [700]comprising an area of grey (ashy) silty sand with charcoal and frequent burnt bone. This deposit was sampled as it appeared to represent domestic debris. Immediately east of the footings was an undefined spread of rubble [702] which was not excavated, however a small sherd of modern pottery was recovered from the top of the spread. It was not possible to establish the full extent of the remains within the confines of the area designated for evaluation. <1>

Subsequent analysis of a flotation processed soil sample taken from the hearth material found the charcoal assemblage contained only alder and birch charcoal, with some indeterminate bark. There was nothing distinctive about the assemblage that could suggest a possible date, although the assemblage is consistent with general hearth waste. Alder and birch trees grew in the native woodlands of this area throughout the prehistoric and historic periods, probably concentrated along the nearby riverbanks of the River Spey. A single fragment of alder charcoal weighing 0.22g was selected for AMS radiocarbon dating at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre. This returned a radiocarbon date of 790–510 cal bc (SUERC-35389) indicating that the remains of the hearth originated in the Iron Age. While the most visible remains of Iron Age settlement within the vicinity of the site is the stone walled fort of Dun da Lamh, some 670m to the south on the summit of Black Craig hill, the hearth remains and associated dry stone structure encountered during the evaluation indicates that other Iron Age settlements may lie buried within the lower-lying grounds of the glen here. Following the discovery of the hearth remains and dry stone structure in Trench 7, it was agreed that all ground-breaking works be excluded from a 10 m buffer zone around this specific location. Instead the access road foundations were raised above the present ground surface here, thus allowing these archaeological remains to be preserved in situ, and negating the need for further archaeological mitigation works. <2>

The full report of the investigations has been published on-line. See link below. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NN 5834 9365 (11m by 8m)
Map sheet NN59SE
Civil Parish LAGGAN

Finds (1)

  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age - 790 BC? to 510 BC?) + Sci.Date

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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