NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Pictish occupation of Aberdeenshire hill fort confirmed

Mither Tap Image copyright Northern Picts
Image caption Mither Tap is a summit of Bennachie, a hill near Inverurie

Pictish occupation of a fort on a well-known hill in Aberdeenshire has been confirmed by archaeologists.

The Mither Tap, a summit on Bennachie, near Inverurie, has the remains of an ancient fort.

It consists of an upper and lower rampart surrounding a "spectacular" granite rocky outcrop called a tor.

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen have sought to better understand the fort and its chronology by excavation and dating.

Radiocarbon samples submitted by the university's Northern Picts project have now confirmed Pictish occupation in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.

Image copyright Northern Picts
Image caption A pig's jaw uncovered by archaeologists investigating the occupation of Mither Tap's fort

Further results from radiocarbon dating of charcoal and bones found at the site are expected later this year.

The Northern Picts project team said the fort was one of the "most impressive" in Scotland and resembled early medieval fortifications known elsewhere in Scotland.

Archaeological work at the Mither Tap has also included the excavation of an ancient well with steps going down into it.

Image copyright Northern Picts/University of Aberdeen
Image caption The steps to the well on Bennachie

The Northern Picts project has been examining Pictish sites in an area of Scotland from Easter Ross in the Highlands to Aberdeenshire since 2012.

The Picts created intricately decorated standing stones and also constructed impressive hill forts to defend themselves against rival tribes and invaders.

They battled against the Romans, Angles and the Vikings.

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