Remains of possible Iron Age settlement found in Caithness

The finds were made during the first ever excavation of the site. PIC: ORCA.
The finds were made during the first ever excavation of the site. PIC: ORCA.
0
Have your say

Remains of a previously unknown prehistoric settlement may have been found by archaeologists working in the far north of Scotland.

A perfectly preserved hearth, a hammer stone, a possible striking stone used to start fires and a “wonderful” pig’s tooth which is normally associated with high status sites have been found near Thurso.

The pig's tooth, which is thought to date to the Iron Age, found near Thurso. PIC: ORCA.

The pig's tooth, which is thought to date to the Iron Age, found near Thurso. PIC: ORCA.

The discoveries, which likely date to the Iron Age, which dates from roughly 800BC to 80AD, were made at the first ever excavation of the Thusater Burn site.

The dig which was led by Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) and the University of Highlands and Islands following promising results from an earlier ground survey.

Around 40 volunteers from the area took part in the dig, which was held as part of the Caithness Broch Project Festival which aims to equip people with skills in archaeology.

Expert said the finds at Thusater Burn point to domestic use, and could represent the site of a wag - a semi underground structure - or potentially a broch, the large monumental tower-like structures built in Scotland during the Iron Age.

The stone lined hearth found at Thusater Burn. PIC: ORCA.

The stone lined hearth found at Thusater Burn. PIC: ORCA.

Research will continue to establish the nature of the structure and a possible date of occupation.

Pete Higgins, Senior Project Manager ORCA, said, “It is incredibly exciting to be involved with the team from Caithness Broch Project and local people investigating this site, especially as this is the first time that it has been excavated.

“This is the first stage of a project which aims to investigate the wider prehistoric landscape of this area of northern Scotland and ultimately help provide the community with the tools to boost tourism in the area.”