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The East Coast provides amazing pieces of preservation.


Recent finds on the Black Isle and the Tarbat Peninsula, both on the east coast just north of Inverness, have thrilled archaeologists recently with their preservation and potential insights into life in the distant past.

First a 600 year old pair of leather ankle boots have been found during excavations under the Tarbat Old Parish Church in Portmahomack, Easter Ross (now the Tarbat Discovery Centre). Being the only known pair of their kind discovered in Scotland, they were found complete with copper buckle. They were residing in a man’s coffin together with a pair of thick woollen hose and even had bits of the man’s leg hair entangled in the garment.

Second, archaeologists have excavated the partly preserved remains of Pictish skeleton at a 1400 year old cemetery near the Muir of Ord on the Black Isle. The location is recognised as one of Scotland’s largest recorded Pictish burial grounds but due to the acidity of the soil, no human remains had been found – until now! After slow patient work, almost the whole outline of the skeleton could be seen surrounded by a ‘faint shadow’ of a coffin.

All discoveries like this (and the Pictish stone shown in our photo) are highly prized as they help us learn more about individuals in different centuries and their culture, customs and lifestyle – something we aim to share with guests interested in history on our tours across the area.

30th September 2019


Join us on a North Coast Explorer Tour and discover some of the human stories behind the history of the Highlands!

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