|23 July 2005
Prehistoric artefacts unhearthed at Culzean Castle
Archaeologists working at Culzean Castle (South Ayrshire, Scotland) for The National Trust for Scotland have found traces of a 2000 year old wall and possible prehistoric artefacts including burnt bone and animal teeth. The finds were made during an archaeological excavation before the construction of new terraces in front of the Old Stables Café. The work is being undertaken by a small group of volunteers, supervised by the Trust’s West Region Archaeologist, Derek Alexander.
"The wall is made of large rounded granite boulders with courses of small sandstone slabs in between. The boulders must have been brought to the site and are unlike any thing else on the cliff top," said Mr Alexander. The exact date of the wall is unknown but the drystone construction (without mortar) and the discovery of a large piece of flaked flint might suggest occupation back in prehistory, over 2000 years ago. Other finds from the site so far include burnt bone, animal teeth, coarse stone tools, and charcoal. It is hoped that the charcoal will be able to provide a radiocarbon date. Alexander says "it is perhaps not surprising that we have started to find traces of early settlement on the site, as before the construction of the terraced gardens on the south-east side the castle, the ridge would have formed an ideal, naturally defended site".
These new finds are an addition to an ever-increasing wealth of archaeological remains around the castle at Culzean. Recent work has recorded 8th-9th century AD human burials in the caves below the castle, while fieldwalking in some of the surrounding arable fields also found three Neolithic stone axes.
Source: The National Trust for Scotland press release (20 July 2005)
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