Kintore (G-B): "special" longhouse could reveal life during Scottish Middle Ages

Ben Miller

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Archaeologists carrying out a dig as part of a new electricity substation development in Aberdeenshire say the discovery of a 14th or 15th century rural farmstead is unprecedented in the region and of national significance.

Maureen Kilpatrick, who led the Guard Archaeology team at the site near Kintore, predicted that post-excavation analysis of the finds could reveal “fascinating insights” into the lives of Scottish residents during the Middle Ages.

This late medieval discovery is something quite special,” she said.

We have uncovered a large enclosure with floor deposits and pottery.

The dwelling is a longhouse and was probably divided between space for animals at the east end and the inhabitants at the west, with an entrance facing south onto an area of rig and furrow cultivation.

The associated yard to the north has evidence of sub-division within it, suggesting that it may also have been used for a combination of animal rearing and cultivation.

Our finds include green glazed red ware recovered from the floor surface, which indicates when the building was occupied.

What makes this building significant is that there are no comparable structures of this date known in lowland Aberdeenshire.

Discoveries like this rarely survive in rural areas as the ground is usually used for rural purposes and is ploughed or used for cattle or livestock. 

It is also a rare survival for the Scottish lowlands, where such buildings have long since been ploughed away or built over.

It may well provide evidence that will improve our understanding of medieval rural life in Scotland.”

Bruce Mann, an archaeologist for Aberdeenshire Council, called the finds “fantastic”.

Rural buildings from this period are extremely rare in Scotland, and to be able to properly investigate one through archaeological excavation will help us hugely in understanding farming life at this time,” he added.

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