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Possible discovery of prehistoric settlement near Scotland's Thurso

A community archaeology event may have uncovered a previously unknown prehistoric settlement in the Highlands.

Possible discovery of prehistoric settlement near Scotland's Thurso
Community archaeologists uncovering the hearth at the Thusater Burn dig [Credit: Orca]
Led by a team of archaeologists, more than 40 people, including children, dug a series of trenches at Thusater Burn near Thurso.

A geophysical survey had suggested the remains of a building beneath the soil. The dig revealed rubble, a hearth constructed from stone slabs, a hammer stone and other tools.

A "wonderfully preserved" pig's tooth was also found. Archaeologists said such a find was usually associated with high status sites.

Possible discovery of prehistoric settlement near Scotland's Thurso
Stone lined hearth emerging from the rubble [Credit: Orca]
Further investigations could confirm the remains to be a broch, or another type of prehistoric structure known as a wag.

The dig was organised by Caithness Broch Project and involved archaeologists from Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (Orca) and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Pete Higgins, Orca senior project manager, 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.

Possible discovery of prehistoric settlement near Scotland's Thurso
Excavated stone lined hearth showing signs of heating. The structure did not contain any ash
and had been cleaned out ready for re-use [Credit: Orca]
"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."

Caithness Broch Project member Kenneth McElroy added: "The dig was a really exciting community event - I was especially pleased to see that for many of the volunteers this was their first experience of an archaeological dig."

Source: BBC News Website [June 14, 2018]


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