MHG598 - Settlement - John O' Groats


Settlement site, later disturbed by a burial ground, that may have been occupied during the Early Iron Age, Late Iron Age (Pictish) and Norse periods.

Type and Period (1)

  • SETTLEMENT (Late Bronze Age to Norse - 1250 BC? to 1300 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Grid Reference corrected to ND 37917 73250

Construction work on site of Highland and Island Development Board industrial estate led to discovery of a large quantity of human bone in 1989, leading to a rescue excavation of an area 6 x 5m by Archaeology Projects Glasgow under sponsorship of Historic Buildings and Monuments. Two phases of activity were found, indicated by the remains of a prehistoric settlement which had been later been substantially disturbed by two separate episodes of burial (see MHG39354).
The prehistoric settlement remains consisted of an extensive area of flagstone paving made up of both quarried flags and waterworn slabs which overlay approximately 0.5m of anthropogenic soils. The paving was presumed to represent structures within or near to a settlement but an insufficient area was examined to allow for any further interpretation. Between the flagstones and below them were three types of prehistoric pottery sherds and numerous flint flakes. The pottery included a single sherd of local Bronze Age type (possibly residual) and both Early and Late Iron Age types. The flint assemblage was not chronologically diagnostic. This depth of soil containing prehistoric pottery indicated a long history of settlement and based on the pottery, it likely began no later than the Early Iron Age and continued into the Late Iron Age, when its seems most likely that the paving was constructed. Beyond this, the nature, extent and duration of these episodes of settlement could not be determined from the limited area excavated however. <1>

Following the archaeological discoveries of the 1989 rescue excavations, various surveys and investigations in association with further development work in the surrounding area have been undertaken. None of this work discovered any further archaeological remains. For more details of these investigations, see attached reports. <2> <3> <4> <5> <6> <7> <8> <9>

Sources/Archives (12)



Grid reference Centred ND 3791 7325 (160m by 160m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND37SE
Civil Parish CANISBAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (3)

  • SHERD (Iron Age - 550 BC to 560 AD)
  • FLAKE (Neolithic to Late Iron Age - 4000 BC? to 560 AD?)
  • SHERD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (3)

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