Skip to comments.Macbeth's Castle Unearthed In Inverness Garden?
Posted on 05/28/2004 12:51:10 PM PDT by blam
Macbeth's castle unearthed in Inverness garden?
LOCAL history enthusiasts believe they have unearthed positive evidence that a former King of Scotland maintained a castle in Inverness.
Tradition has persisted that Macbeth had a stronghold at Auldcastle Road in the Crown area of the city - hence the name.
Now an archaeological dig by members of the Inverness Local History Forum in the garden of the appropriately-named house Dun Macbeth has uncovered what could be the most important finds to date.
Some artefacts, including pieces of medieval glass and what are thought to be whalebone and porpoise or dolphin bones have been sent away for examination.
But what has really excited the Forum is the discovery of a dressed stone wall underneath what was a raised feature in the garden.
"We don't know for certain if it was Macbeth's castle but certainly everything points to it, " chairman George Christie declared.
"We thought at first it might be just part of a Victorian terraced garden so we cut through that and came upon various layers of archaeological evidence dating beyond the Victorian era back to medieval times."
He described how, at the bottom of the trench, they found a wall over two metres thick.
"Everyone thought that if there was a castle there it would have been a wooden fort. But it is now our belief it had a stone curtain wall with wooden buildings inside."
Evidence was found in the area of a medieval well and Forum members unearthed a silver coin dating back to the 12th Century.
"It was obvious they had been eating either porpoises or dolphins but we can't distinguish between the bones so they have been sent off for examination, " Mr Christie added. "Seafood was obviously an important part of their diet because we also found mussels and oyster shells."
Whalebone was found in another pit and a large post hole which could have supported a roof.
There were also signs of destructive burning, which ties in with the belief that Malcolm Canmore burned down the castle in 1056 in revenge for the death of his father King Duncan at the hands of Macbeth in 1040.
The dig was the first archaeological excavation of the site and the Forum was assisted by freelance consultant archaeologist Stuart Farrell, along with Patricia Weeks and Jon Watt from Inverness Museum.
Mr Christie is now sure there was a defensive wall on the site.
"Some people have questioned the suitability of the area as a site for a castle, " he commented.
"But we have conclusive evidence that the sea came right up to Millburn Road below the hill on which Auld Castle road sits.
"So the site was above the coastline with views right out across the Moray Firth."
Dun Macbeth is owned by Dr Timothy Palmer, a pathologist at Raigmore Hospital, and his wife Rhona. They have been aware of the history of the site since they moved into the house 14 years ago.
Mrs Palmer said the team were very considerate and restored her garden after their work was finished.
"I'll be interested to hear the results of the test, " she said.
"But we have conclusive evidence that the sea came right up to Millburn Road below the hill on which Auld Castle road sits."
Ya mean global warming was raising sea levels in the 1000's? Thank Providence for the Little Ice Age. Maybe we don't know as much about climate change as we thought.
Out, damned spot! out, I say!--
I heard that Con Ed workers accidentaly unearthed the original 18th century site of the first 'Famous Rays Pizza' on what is now 4th Ave & 9th Street in Manhattan...
So, I can see when the neighbor's dog came over to investigate, the archaeologists yelled, "out, out, damned spot!"
thanks for your post, I always enjoy them.
Thanks--very cool :)
I'd be interested in a follow-up story, but I rarely see anything after a first "discovery" story. Very interesting stuff.
I think Sal's on Amsterdam between 73rd and 74th was there since medieval times. But, the store with no name known as Dominic's up on the corner had a box of Maypo on the top shelf that may date back even farther.
...and King Arthur's castle is outside of Tintagel.
"Lay on MacDuff and damned be he who first cries, "Hold, enough'."
By the way, I just finished Dawson's "Ice Age Earth" and it was well worth the effort. It has a lot on Europe and the British Isles as well as the American Ice sheets. Written by and for geologists but comprehensible to dummies like me.
Thanks, I'll check it out and see if I want to read it.
I got a few questions last week that sent me back to The Tarim Mummies.
I have a question for you. What do you make of this statement on page 281, "This would render the Tocharins virtually native to Gansu (and earlier than the putative spread of the Neolithic to Xinjiang) and Narain goes so far as to argue that the Indo-Europeans themselves originally dispensed from this area westwards. Seldom has a tail so small wagged a dog so large."
As you know, I think things were far more complex than the bulk of the achademics would like. You are never, in my mind, going to get any nice neat liniar path to development or exploration.
No question, the Tocharins are among the most interesting. As more arcaeologists spread onto the Stepp and Iranian/Afghan areas, we may get some answers. The area north of the Tarim Basin may provide some answers. I recall you talking about the Discovery/National Geographic specials.
I hope soon. As I was reading the book by Oppenheimer and his saying that some of the refugees from Sundaland went up the rivers/waterways of Asia, even into Tibet. I kept thinking of these Tocharian folks. Are Europeans from Asia?
The fabrics described by Elizabeth Barber (Mummies Of Urumchi) and how similar (almost exact) they were to the fabrics of the famous Celtic site at Halstadt. These folks were 1,000 years and 5,000 miles apart. It makes sense if they were migrating toward Halstadt instead of the other way around as I have been thinking. Did the Celts come out of Asia?
Of course the linguists would say that they are distinct and unrelated to the Indo-European. So this gives you six distinct areas of cultural origins. Semetic Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Iran/Stepp, China and Southeast Asian basin. Each has very distinct elements very early that the others do not.
Do you know if any Cro-Magnon skeletons have ever been found in Asia?
Apparently, any "modern" human between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago having generally African skull appearance is labled Cro-Magnon. Some European skulls retained the appearance up to 5,000 years ago. I find this rather unsatisfactory but the science of skull classification is "iffy" when you consider to comentary on it in the Tarim book.
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