The Mingary Castle restoration blog was written by Jon Haylett, who lives in the local village of Kilchoan. Now that restoration is almost complete Holly and Chris Bull will take over to report on bringing the Castle back to life.
Monday, 29 July 2013
There was huge excitement on site on Thursday with the discovery of an arrowhead. I use the word 'discovery' carefully - the arrowhead had, in fact, been dug out of the rubble in the castle courtyard some weeks previously, the finder being Dave Henderson, but no-one recognised it until the artefacts were being washed and cleaned ready to go back to Addyman Archaeology's offices.
The delay in announcing this stunning find was to give Ross Cameron of Addyman Archaeology, who is an expert on Scottish west coast castles, a chance to do a little research. He writes, "We cannot fit the shape of the arrowhead into any known or accepted typology that we can lay our hands on, but when it goes to a specialist, I am sure they will give us a date. What I do have is a couple of quotes:
"Scottish Arms and Armour by Fergus Cannan (Shire Publications 2009), says, 'George Buchanan (in his History of Scotland completed in c.1579 and published in 1582) observes that Highlanders fire arrows ‘for the most part hooked, with a barble on either side, which once entered within the body, cannot be drawne forth againe, unless the wounde be made wider.’
"Cannan goes onto say, ‘These sound like barbed hunting arrowsheads pressed into battlefield use – John Taylor in his Pennylesse Pilgrimage (1618) in fact says of Highlanders that 'their weapons are long bowes and forked arrows… with these armes I found many of them armed for the hunting.'’
"Thus it is clear that the arrowhead could easily be in use in the 17th century at the time of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (ie MacColla’s siege and subsequent siege by Campbell). The context is not particularly helpful, as it lies just underneath the topsoil. It could also be a hunting arrowhead, unrelated to warfare, although it is tempting to think otherwise.
"None of us on site have ever found an iron arrowhead before, so we are all tremendously excited about it."