An­cient land­mark con­tin­ues to pro­vide sur­prises for his­to­ri­ans

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

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.

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