MHG57675 - Occupation site - Allanfearn


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • OCCUPATION SITE? (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A geophysical survey was carried out by GUARD in 1993 in advance of a proposed new sewage treatment plant at Allanfearn to the northeast of Inverness. Part of the survey area included a group of scheduled barrows known only as cropmarks. In field 2, south of the Scheduled area, a rectilinear anomaly (J) sits at the edge of the slope. This may represent an enclosure; if so, it is likely to be medieval or later. Adjoining this anomaly is a small circular anomaly (K); given the proximity to (J), it is possible that (J) might be a part of (K), which anomaly coincides with a buried man¬hole (shown on plans from Mott MacDonald Scotland, the contractors). <1>

An excavation by GUARD in 1995-6 prior to the construction of a new sewage treatment works at Allanfearn to the northeast of Inverness revealed a series of enigmatic deposits. A single large trench was opened at the location of two anomalies (J, K) in field 2 found during the previous geophysical survey. A large rectilinear anomaly interpreted as a possible enclosure and a small circular anomaly thought to be a manhole cover, were both investigated. The trench was topsoil stripped exposing an area with dimensions of roughly 41m x 27m. The anomaly (J) interpreted as a possible enclosure was found to be a coincidental arrangement of different features, some natural. The northern arm of the anomaly was a large dark grey silt spread which appeared anthropogenic. A further similar spread was partially located within the northeastern edge of the trench and an extension measuring 17m x 11m was opened to fully expose it. The feature thought to represent a manhole cover appeared as a large oval silt filled pit. In the main area of the trench the dark anthropogenic deposit had two distinct parts, a lighter deposit to the south merging with a darker deposit to the north. The southern part of the feature was found to contain the partial remains of a post-built structure. A large pit was also present. The evidence for a structure was provided by partially surviving lines of post and stake-holes contained in the west and southwest sectors and by a post-gully in the east sector. A possible hearth was present at the south end of the western sector. The darker spread to the north was found to include a number of pits. The northeast sector contained a stone-filled linear feature. On excavation this was found to contain two discrete pits within the larger linear feature. The density of stones within these features was suggestive of post-packing but no other post-holes were present in the immediate area to relate to. Another larger pit (anomaly K) originally interpreted as containing a manhole cover was found to contain a large stone which measured 2.4m x 1.2m x 0.7m as it survived. It had been uncovered in the recent past and split using boreholes. The main fill contained modern pottery sherds. The rock was probably protruding into the topsoil and had been exposed and boreholed to split and to reduce it to below the level of the plough. It was lifted by machine to ensure that it was not contained within another cut but was found to be a naturally occurring glacial erratic and was replaced. The features present in the main part of trench JK appear to be the remains of a possible domestic structure and a number of associated pits, none of which appear to relate to each other structurally. The fills of the pits were mainly very dark and organic and some contained stones which were possibly packing material to support a post. A small lithic concentration occurred close to the pits. The eastern feature appeared to represent the partial remains of a burial cairn or barrow (see MHG57675). <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 7115 4735 (20m by 20m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH74NW
Geographical Area INVERNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.