Excavations Week 3 May 2022
The third and last week of Lost Inverlael excavations was conducted in May 2022. This week saw three trenches, One across the largest building surveyed, the second across a smaller build adjacent and the third a small structure at the top of the hill looking over the river and old bridge. This site is directly across the river from the mill and both would have been visible to each other before the planting of the forestry trees.
We have a few ideas for this site. The large building had been surveyed last year and was thought to have been either a tavern/inn, with a small animal holding pen, or potentially the Tacks man’s house and kale yard with an assortment of outhouses. The third small structure was being investigated as a potential toll booth.
The larger structure was an exciting trench and we managed to locate all the walls that we would expect that had been very well made. Unfortunately we could not find a definitive floor but the presence of large slabs in what we thought was the door way possibly suggested there was a flag stone floor that had been removed at a later date. However all was not lost, as against the back wall on the outside, in what we suspected to be the kale yard we found a small midden. In it we found a significant amount of ceramics, that had once been discarded. We also found fragments of very fine glass, which we now believe to have been from tiny medicine like bottles. On the north side of the building next to the doorway we also found a post hole that may have given us a form of porch or fencing around the front of the building.
The smaller outhouse type building of our second trench we believe is an animal barn of some description, with no cermanics or glass coming out of it but, did have some unidentifiable iron objects, along will large deposits of organic material, samples will hopefully shed more light on them. This trench however did give us a few lovely buttons one of which still had the tread attached at the back.
The third trench was a difficult one, more open to the elements it became difficult to work in when the weather turned and the state of the building was in poor repair. No final verdict was ever given for this structure, but all was not lost as it did give us our oldest find, a tiny neolithic thumbnail scraper.
The final verdict on the last site is that we have a dwelling house, and we have not dismissed the idea that this is the tacksman’s house, given its location at the heart of the settlement, and the significant vantage point over the bridge and main road.
Given the size of the building we also think we are looking at an earlier blackhouse style building, very similar to the ones at the Highland Folk Museum. This would work well with the running theory that this part of the settlement was inhabited in at least the 17th and 18th centuries.
We hope that results of the samples and analysis of the finds would help us in proving this theory.