Highlands & Islands

New tests on medieval man buried in his boots in Highlands

Boots and woollen socks Image copyright NMS
Image caption Boots and woollen leggings were found in a 15th Century grave in 1997

A medieval man whose boots and woollen leggings survived in his coffin for hundreds of years is to be the subject of new analysis.

The Tarbat Medieval Burials Project hopes to shed new light on 15th Century graves at St Colman's Church in Portmahomack.

Those buried at the site in Easter Ross are believed to have been caught up in a violent clan feud.

The new analysis aims to radiocarbon date the man's burial.

Other tests could help archaeologists find out where he came from and give insights into his genetic ancestry.

The man's remains, along with his boots and leggings were, found in an archaeological excavation in 1997. The clothing is in the care of National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh.

Historically, Easter Ross was the scene of a feud between the clans Ross and Mackay.

During the late 15th Century, St Colman's Church was burned down before a battle was fought nearby between the rival clans.

Image copyright Dr Cecily Spall
Image caption A sketch of the boots and leggings

In another of the graves, two men - one of them powerfully built and with a fatal sword wound to his face - were found along with four skulls.

Archaeologists from York-based Fieldwork Archaeological Services (FAS) and the University of Bradford have been examining all the remains as part of the Tarbat Medieval Burials Project.

For the project, Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University has also produced a facial reconstruction of one of the men buried with the four skulls.

A temporary exhibition about the work so far is running at Tarbat Discovery Centre, and archaeologist Cecily Spall will give a talk on the new analysis at Portmahomack's Carnegie Hall on 4 October as part of the Highland Archaeology Festival.

Image copyright Face Lab
Image caption A facial reconstruction has been produced of one of the men found buried, along with four skulls

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