Glen Nevis vitrified fortress to give up its secrets?

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An Archaeology Festival later this month (Saturday 20th August) will celebrate a unique and fascinating archaeology project at the Dun Deardail vitrified fortress, in Glen Nevis.

Forest Enterprise Scotland is teaming up with Nevis Landscape Partnership and AOC Archaeology for the two-week dig, beginning on 15 August, in a bid to get to the bottom of the enigma surrounding the Lochaber landmark.

This is the second year of excavations in Glen Nevis that will see archaeologists, field assistants and volunteers dig up the past trying to uncover clues as to how and why this fortress was abandoned and set alight by ancient inhabitants of Glen Nevis.

Martin Cook, Director & Head of Fieldwork, AOC Archaeology, said;

“It is hugely exciting to be back at Dun Deardail for the second season of the dig!

“This year, as well as excavating across the rampart we will also be digging in the central area of the fort; we hope this will help us establish who was living there and what they were doing.

“Last year we found evidence of possible structures and activity areas, we cannot wait to find out more about these this year.”

The field-crew will build upon last year’s archaeological findings which included part of a timber crossbeam from the original structure that experts can carbon-date to reveal, for the first time, when Dun Deardail was occupied and subsequently burned to the ground.

Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland Archaeologist & Project Manager, said;

“The one thing we know for sure about Dun Deardail is that it was once destroyed by a blaze so intense that it melted the very rocks of the rampart.

“This project means we can look forward to learning a lot more about this enigmatic site over the next few years. The first year of the excavation was hugely successful, combining volunteer opportunities with exciting new archaeological research.

“Dun Deardail is a great hillfort with an intriguing story to discover! Let us hope this ambitious project can unravel Dun Deardail’s many secrets.”

The “Dun Deardail Archaeology Festival” will be held at the Braveheart Car Park, Glen Nevis and will run from 11am until 4pm.

Everyone is invited to come along to the free family event and experience the rich history and heritage of Scotland. Iron Age guides will demonstrate ancient crafts and cooking whilst AOC Archaeology will be running a free shuttle bus up to Dun Deardail, high in Glen Nevis.

The Nevis Landscape Partnership Program is a five-year, £3.9m scheme, consisting of 19 projects aiming to encourage people to engage with the natural and cultural environment of Ben and Glen Nevis through volunteering, school participation, experience events and training opportunities.

It also has a major ‘leave no trace’ interpretation project to promote sustainable use of the area. Key partners are: Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, John Muir Trust and The Nevis Partnership.

Notes to editors

  1. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.