Dr William Maclean - a forgotten collector: The man, his sites and his finds

This exhibition, running at the Groam House Museum from 1 May 2010 to Easter 2011, has been researched, designed and put together by local people participating in the "Display the Past" courses run by ARCH (Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands). The objects on display form part of The Maclean Collection, an impressive and extensive assembly of objects that is normally held in storage by the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. Many of the exhibition items have never before been on public display.

The display includes ancient stone weapons, tools and implements collected from chance discoveries across the Black Isle and beyond, including a Neolithic axehead from Mulbuie, a macehead from Fodderty and an Iron Age cup from Meikle Ussie. There are also finds recovered during Maclean's excavation of Caird's Cave, near Rosemarkie from 1907 - 1913. The star object from that cave dig is a delicately and deftly crafted bone pin with three precious amber insets, thought to date from the 8th to 9th centuries AD. It is the only known example of its kind in Scotland.

As part of the project, National Museums Scotland have generously submitted images of all the objects in the Maclean Collection to the HER. Images of all the provenanced finds can now be viewed from the HER records in question (see links in text above).

ARCH has also donated copies of all their display material to the HER and the display panels may be viewed using the links below:


Dr William Maclean, a forgotten collector: The man, his sites and his finds

© National Museums Scotland

Early Antiquaries in the Highlands

Collecting Traditions: From 'Loamshire' to National Grid References

Dr William Maclean: Biography and Mystery

The Maclean Collection

The Black Isle and Beyond: exploring caves, cairns and crannogs

The Mulbuie Axehead: journey through time and space

The Meikle Ussie Cup: light or water?

Caird's Cave

Caird's Cave Bone Pin: unique and precious

Thanks and Acknowledgements


NB All images submitted to the HER as part of this project are copyright of National Museums Scotland and they should not be reproduced in any form without prior consent. See our Terms and Conditions for more information.