Video: Neil Oliver examines '˜Glencoe Massacre finds'

Archaeologist and broadcaster Neil Oliver has visited the Highlands to examine finds which could date to the period around the 1692 Glencoe Massacre.

Friday, 21st September 2018, 6:46 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:20 am

Mr Oliver, president of the National Trust for Scotland, visited the glen to see traces of the lost settlement of Achtriochtan which stood at the time of the atrocity.

Here, the outline of a large turf house can still be seen with archaeologists recovering a fragment of late 17th Century tankard, believed to have originated in Staffordshire, from the site.

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Glencoe is one of Scotland's most visited landscapes with recent archaeological finds helping to shed light on its population over time. PIC: NTS.

A copper alloy coin from the same period was also found in the yard area of the house.

Mr Oliver was shown the remains by Derek Alexander, head of archaeological services at NTS, and the trust’s Natasha Ferguson, lead inventory officer for archaeology.

Achtriochtan is one of six settlements that appear on Roy’s 18th century military maps but which disappear from documents by the 19th Century after the townships were cleared for sheep.

NTS are working at the lost settlements to help place the human stories of the glen back into the landscapes.

On seeing the piece of tankard, Mr Oliver put to the archaeologists: “So that could hypothetically have been used at the time of the massacre?”

Ms Ferguson said that was the case, with the coin also dating to the same period.

Three settlements have been examined by NTS archaeologists with more detail survey work to follow.

Glencoe was the scene of one of Scotland’s most infamous murders of the clan era when British soldiers killed at least 38 MacDonalds of Glencoe after their chief tried but failed to meet a deadline to pledge allegiance to King William II.

The soldiers had enjoyed 12 nights of Highland hospitality in the homes of their MacDonald hosts before the slaughter.