Tarradale Through Time: Medieval & Mesolithic

Tarradale harpoonIn September and October 2017, AOC's Inverness team, together with Steven Birch of West Coast Archaeological Services, provided professional support to the North of Scotland Archaeological Society’s Tarradale Through Time Project.

AOC's archaeologists supervised volunteers over two projects designed to evaluate prehistoric shell midden sites and a location thought to be the possible medieval castle site at Tarradale, near Muir of Ord in the Highlands.

The shell midden sites, located on raised beach terraces about 9m OD to the east of Tarradale House, contained significant sequences of archaeological layers – which contained evidence for manufacture of quartz and coarse stone implements amongst the middens. Both open area excavation and test pitting were employed at two different sites in the landscape. The most exciting finds included a barbed antler harpoon (above, right) and two antler axes (one shown below, right) – important and rare artefacts from the Scottish Mesolithic period. 

Tarradale montage

While the castle site excavation did not uncover evidence for a medieval castle, volunteers enjoyed training in excavation and metal detecting!

Tarradale Through Time is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and by Historic Environment Scotland. You can find out more on the project website