Ancient landmark continues to provide surprises for historians
Crathes Castle is a coveted landmark in Scotland, with tourists often using it as their first point on castle trails in the north-east.
The 16th-Century building was created by the Burnetts of Leys, who held on to the property for 400 years.
They were given the land by King Robert the Bruce in 1323.
As the years progressed they built a crannog-like structure at the site – in the middle of a nearby bog.
Work on the current tower house of Crathes
Castle began in 1553, but was delayed several times due to political problems washing through Scotland during the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.
It was finally completed in 1596 by Alexander Burnett of Leys, and an additional wing was added in the 18th Century.
Crathes Castle served as the ancestral seat of the Burnetts of Leys until it was given to the National Trust for Scotland by the 13th Baronet of Leys, Sir James Burnett, in 1951.
A fire damaged portions of the castle – in particular the Queen Anne wing – in 1966.
Now, hundreds of years after work began at Crathes Castle, historians are still gleaning nuggets of information from the historic building.
During 2004 excavations uncovered a series of pits believed to date from about 10,000 years ago.
The find was only analysed in 2013 and is believed to be the world’s oldest known lunar calendar – thought to have been used from 8000 BC to about 4000 BC.
The castle and grounds are owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and are open to the public.