|21 September 2003
Ancient rampart may pre-date Pictish fort site
A team of archaeologists have made a historic discovery in the back garden of a Moray village (Scotland). Burghead is already well-known throughout the world for its Pictish fort site – the largest of its kind in Scotland – but now a group from Edinburgh University have uncovered an ancient rampart which may pre-date the fort.
Professor Ian Ralston and his students are currently undertaking an archaeological investigation on behalf of the Burghead Headland Trust, who wanted to discover if there were any more historic sites to be found in the village. Prof Ralston said: "The Trust were interested in finding out if any other remains of the fort survived. We have been digging in one or two gardens, including one in Church Street, but there was nothing there."
However, the group struck archaeological gold in the back garden of The Brae, in Grant Street, when they dug up the Pictish rampart. "This could be the same age as the fort or maybe older," said Prof Ralston. "It could date from the pre-Roman Iron Age. We are trying to dig up some more of it to get some objects or some wood that we can analyse with radio carbon dating to discover its age."
The earliest ramparts at Burghead date from 400AD and were rough wooden palisades erected by Pictish settlers. Mrs Cath Millar, of the Headland Trust, said: "It’s quite exciting that they have found some of the original stones from the old fort. We’re just waiting to find out how old they are."
Although Burghead’s headland, the location of the Pictish fort, has been designated an ancient site, the archaeologists did not require permission from Historic Scotland to dig in the back garden of The Brae because it is not actually on the Pictish fort site. Prof Ralston and his team, who are staying at the Burghead caravan site, are halfway through their investigations and will be in the area for another week.
Source: The Northern Scot (19 September 2003)
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