Team’s dis­cov­ery could be pre­his­toric set­tle­ment

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - LOCALNEWS - BY SCOTT MACLENNAN

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

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