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19 October 2006
Iron Age city discovered under Inverness

The remains of a 2000-year-old city have been discovered under Inverness and it is being hailed as one of the most important recent discoveries in Scotland. The find near Inverness Royal Academy was uncovered by a team who spent almost a year excavating the remains of seven large roundhouses and almost a dozen iron kilns.
     Last year The Inverness Courier revealed the team from Headland Archaeology had uncovered the ancient city's 'industrial estate' where iron was smelted, bronze was cast and glass was produced. But at the final event of the Highland Archaeology Fortnight, archaeologist Ross Murray gave further details about what he and his colleagues had discovered so far about the city that once stood at the eastern end of the Great Glen. "They had a large industrialised production setup and would have been producing goods for trade with other countries."
     Among the items found below a site near Inverness Royal Academy were part of a bronze horse harness, an enamelled bronze brooch, dozens of woodworking tools and a large iron sword. "We found boxes upon boxes of iron and bronze objects and these are all at the National Museum of Scotland being analysed. What is already obvious was the wealth of this settlement and we have just clipped the industrial part of it. The rest is now covered by earlier development at Culduthel." Mr Murray said.
     Over the next few months experts at the National Museum will analyse samples to assess where the iron ore used in the kilns came from and study fragments of ancient wooden beams to provide an accurate date for some of the buildings in the ancient settlement. Just as part of modern Culduthel stands on top of the Iron Age settlement, it too was built over the remains of a much earlier Neolithic community from 5000 years ago. These remains will also be investigated to learn more about the earliest inhabitants' lives.

Source: The Inverness Courier (17 October 2006)

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