Team’s discovery could be prehistoric settlement
A community archaeology team hopes that it has uncovered a previously unknown prehistoric settlement near Thurso.
Over 40 locals took part in the latest dig near Thusater Burn organised by the Caithness Broch Festival last week.
An additional trench had to be opened so everyone could be trained in basic archaeological techniques.
That was conducted by archaeologists from the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) and the University of the Highlands and Islands.
All three trenches revealed archaeological features anticipated by a geophysical survey conducted by the ORCA team several weeks ago.
But the most exciting structural find was a perfectly preserved hearth constructed of orthostats or upright stone slabs or stones, a base slab and packing stones.
The team’s hard work was also rewarded by finding a hammer stone and possible striking stone used for starting fires.
A well preserved pig’s tooth, usually associated with high status sites, was also located.
The finds point to possible domestic use and it was conjectured that it could be a wag – a type of semiunderground structure.
Senior Project Manager ORCA Pete Higgins said he was excited to be involved with the team and added: “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.”
DISCOVERY: The dig team at Thusater Burn, organised by the Caithness Broch Festival, unearth a stone hearth