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12 September 2009
Iron Age roundhouse unearthed at Scottish farm

Archaeologists have uncovered the floor and timber beams of a 2,000-year-old roundhouse in the heart of a Moray farm (scotland). Experts believe the structure unearthed at Dykeside Farm, Birnie, was once the multistorey-power centre of an Iron Age settlement. The archaeologist leading the excavation said it was the best-preserved roundhouse discovered on the site.
     National Museums of Scotland curator Fraser Hunter said the 'huge, impressive building' had a diameter of 50ft and had stood nearly 30ft high and showed how sophisticated the Iron Age settlers really were. He added: "People tend to think they were scratching around living difficult existences and staying in huts, but this is no hut. This was a huge and impressive building." The archaeologist said he believed there had been lots of smaller structures around the roundhouse but this had been the major power centre.
     The remains will be recorded before the timber is lifted carefully and sent away for analysis to gain insight into the type of wood used, and how the house was built. The Birnie field has been excavated by archaeologists for the last 12 years. Mr Hunter said the most significant discoveries had been five other roundhouses found this year. In total 20 roundhouses have been found. Sheila McColl, Elgin Museum volunteer and archaeological representative of the Moray Society which manages the museum, said the site had put Moray on the Iron Age map.
     The National Museums of Scotland has organised an open day at the site on Sunday. Maps to the site can be picked up from Elgin Museum, High Street, Elgin. Booking is not required. Phone 0131 247 4050 for information.

Source: The Press and Journal (11 September 2009)

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