Evidence of Charcoal Production on the Moidart Peninsula

Charcoal platformStone-built wall

Ardmolich Wood is located on the Moidart peninsula, overlooking Kinlochmoidart on the west coast of Scotland. AOC’s Inverness team recently undertook a survey of the woodland in advance of felling operations and forestry road upgrade. Twenty sites were recorded including small clearance cairns and banks. The landscape was mostly characterised by 13 sites interpreted as revetted platforms or possible hut circles. The results suggested that the platforms had been constructed for use during the exploitation of woodland resources for charcoal production.

Archaeological excavation was undertaken on one platform site, located in line with a planned upgrade of the forestry road. Excavation revealed that a stone-built revetment wall supported the flat platform surface constructed into the hillside. A charcoal-rich layer spread over the platform surface represented at least one significant phase of burning. Post-excavation specialist analysis of the recovered charcoal will help to characterise the material, initially interpreted as residue from charcoal production and directly related to the exploitation of the local woodland. Further analysis will also provide information on the date of this site, although it is likely to date to the 18th or 19th century. Excavation of the platform has provided a more in depth understanding of the construction and use of the sites and the history of the woodland. It also provided a record of the site in advance of forestry operations.

Work at Ardmolich Wood was carried out on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland.