Excavations at Birnie, Moray, 2007. - NMS Research Repository
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Excavations at Birnie, Moray, 2007.



The 2007 excavations at the later prehistoric site at Birnie examined four areas. Continued excavation of the burnt-down roundhouse (trench D) revealed extensive remains of chared timbers from the roof and possibly an upper floor. Substantial structural posts were also found, some squared; other structural elements included a mortice and tenon joint. Finds included a range of glass beads, a rotary quern stone and a series of stone tools. The bulk of the destruction deposits in the western half have now been excavated, revealing the ring groove of an earlier, smaller house. The south-east quadrant was also examined, with removal of the much less extensive destruction deposits revealing a series of large pits and an oval stone feature, yet to be excavated. In the north-east quadrant, there are hints of an overlying rectangular structure defined by slight cobbeled spreads. Continued excavation of the large ring-ditch house examined in 2000 and 2006 (trench AB) revealed a series of rebuilds, with evidence of at least three structures c.18-19m in diameter on the same site. Two had eastern entrances, but at one stage there was a north-westerly doorway. There were no surviving floor deposits, but finds suggest a later Iron Age date. The pair of iron-smelting furnaces found in 2006 were shown to post-date the house. They may be connected with other later features, including a paved arc and a series of post-sockets, perhaps of medieval date. The third trench (AF) examined the area where the coin hoards came from. This confirmed there were no structures connected with the hoards, and revealed two other unusual deposits: a pit with a high-quality barely-used whetstone at its base, and another pit with an intact inverted Iron Age pot. Unusually for the area, it was decorated. These and previous finds support the notion that this area was a focus for votive offerings. The hoards and the two finds from this year are near-equally spaced on a slightly curving line. The final trench (AG), to the south-west of previously excavated areas, produced very few features, confirming the limits of the site in this direction.


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11 Mar 2020
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