Perth and Kinross history buffs will get one of the last chances to take a look at the excavation of an Iron Age fort dating back over 3000 years before it is demolished.
Following the success of the first archeology open day, GUARD Archaeology, who are leading the dig, are inviting the public to come and see more of what has been found at Broxy Kennels Fort.
Located just south of Luncarty on the A9, the site is being stripped back to reveal its archaeological secrets before construction of the Cross Tay Link Road (CTLR) commences.
The ancient hillfort site will sadly disappear due to the new £118m road project’s construction, with archaeologists now working to retrieve as much information as possible from the site before it goes.
The bridge location was chosen to avoid the known archaeology, including the Gold Castle prehistoric settlement to the east of the river in Strathtay to the Grassy Walls Roman Camp near Old Scone.
But as time runs out for Broxy Kennels, archaeologists are moving in to create a full record of life there.
Burnt cereal grains found in an underground storage chamber – or souterrain – are believed to date from the late Bronze Age to early Iron Age, with pottery sherds coming from the same period.
GUARD Archeology were contracted to excavate the site with a number of archeology students from the University of Highlands and Islands to assist. The bridge is being developed by BAM Nuttall which has “really taken the excavation on board”, according to Sophie Nicol of the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, and curator with the CTLR.
“It’s an unusual monument,” she explained previously. “It may not be nationally protected but to my mind it is as important as any other hillfort and it needs to be treated as such.
“The bulk of the hillfort is coming out. Rarely do you get the opportunity to do a good excavation of a hillfort.
“They are not excavated at this level very often. They are not under development very often.” Ms Nicol said the general area was “dense” in history, from the prehistoric period right through to the medieval era.
She added: “Historically, the river has been a really important part of settlement and power, from the transportation of goods to keeping an eye on what people were doing.
“The River Tay was massively important.”
Ms Nicol added: “We are looking at potentially multiple phases of occupation. We will be trying to establish the first settlement there and
how it developed over time.”
Members of the public are being invited to find out more about what’s being uncovered from noon to 2pm on Saturday, April 23.
“We had a lot of interest the first time we opened the site to the public, so we’re sure there is more demand to have a look,” said Warren Bailie of GUARD Archaeology, who is leading the investigation. “Of the 4000 prehistoric forts found across Britain and Ireland, around 1500 are in Scotland and of these few have ever been excavated and then only partly.”
The project’s academic advisor Dr Ronan Toolis added: “The total excavation of Broxy Kennels Fort is a great opportunity to examine an Iron Age settlement in its entirety.”
One part of the site that archaeologists are particularly interested in is a subterrain.
Souterrains are underground passages, built with stone or timber walls, which were probably used for the storage of food surplus.
Souterrains are a particularly important aspect of the Iron Age in Scotland because they are not found in England other than Cornwall.
“The excavation at Broxy Kennels Fort may shed light upon why Iron Age societies across Scotland were open to the building and use of souterrains but that societies further south were not,” added Ronan.
The CTLR project involves the construction of a new three-span bridge over the River Tay and six kilometers of new road linking the A9 and the A93 to Blairgowrie and the A94 north of Scone.
It also includes the realignment of two kilometers of dual carriageway on the A9 just north of Inveralmond Roundabout.
Anyone interested in getting involved can register their interest at [email protected]
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.