Excavations continued in 1999 on an Iron Age settlement at Birnie, Moray, where metal-detecting had recovered a disturbed Roman coin hoard. Earlier work had shown the settlement was in part contemporary with the coins, and it may have been the residence of a powerful local chieftain who had contacts with the Romans. Work in 1999 concentrated on a roundhouse which had been partly exposed in 1998. This proved to be well-preserved, with burnt deposits which probably relate to its destruction after it was abandoned. Although these were only partly excavated, they have the potential to give a rare insight into the structure of an Iron Age house. The house was large, some 14 m in diameter, supported on a ring of substantial posts. It was rebuilt once. Excavation of an area around the house revealed a range of pits and postholes. It also uncovered a well-preserved medieval blacksmith's workshop. This was probably linked to the community which lived around the important church at Birnie. A metal detecting survey found more silver coins from the hoard, as well as two Roman brooches. One of these is probably earlier than the coins, which indicated the hoard was not a one-off contact. This suggests the inhabitants of Birnie were indeed people of some importance, as they had connections with the Roman world on several occasions.
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