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.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

First Composite Plan of Castle

The results of many weeks of archaeological work are beginning to come together with this preliminary composite plan which draws together all the sketches made by the archaeologists during their work at the castle.  The plan isn't finished: Tom Addyman and Kenny Macfadyen's recent visit included further drawings....

....for example of the area of passageway immediately inside the main gate, only recently excavated.  This shows that the floor level here was much higher than the one now exposed.  Presumably this later flooring, probably formed during the refurbishment of the castle around 1700, was of cobbles which raised it to the level of the entrance built at that time.  The cobbles were later robbed.

The constraints of this blog platform mean that the wealth of detail in the plan can't be fully appreciated, but some idea can be obtained from these extracts from the main map.  This is the ground floor of the north range.  The room in the centre housed the staircase, and the well can be seen at top right.

The courtyard and east range are shown here.  Many hours were spent excavating the courtyard, including by local volunteers who will be pleased to see their efforts incorporated into the plan.  In this area most of the cobbles were still in situ, but the composite doesn't show one of the most intriguing finds in the courtyard....

....this fissure, up to two metres deep, cut down into the bedrock but later infilled with rubble.  It seems unlikely that this was natural as the edges are so clean-cut, so it was excavated deliberately and, therefore, for good reason - yet archaeologists have no explanation for it.

The west range illustrates how complex it will be to establish the history of the castle.  There is evidence of multiple uses of the rooms, and the plan here shows floor levels of different stages in the castle's evolution.  The northern of these two rooms was almost certainly a kitchen at one stage and a forge later - a number of horseshoes and other metal objects were found there.

A full report of the excavation is now in the process of being written by archaeologists at Addyman Archaeology.

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