Highlands & Islands

Kingussie water work uncovers Middle Ages human remains

Excavation in Kingussie Image copyright Scottish Water
Image caption Skulls and other bones were discovered during work to lay new water pipes

Human remains uncovered by Scottish Water workers in a Highlands town have been radiocarbon dated to the 14th Century.

Skulls, leg and arm bones and the foundations of what is believed to be a chapel were found during work to lay new water pipes in Kingussie last year.

Tests have now confirmed the remains date to the Middle Ages.

Evidence of metalworking was also found and this could date to between the 8th and 11th centuries.

Archaeologists said the 14th Century was the "heyday" of a Carmelite Order, also known as the White Friars, in the area.

The Carmelite family is one of the ancient religious communities of the Roman Catholic Church, which first came to Britain in the 13th Century.

Image copyright Highland Council
Image caption Archaeologist Steven Birch records the remains last year

Archaeologists said the earlier metalworking was consistent with the earliest settlement in Kingussie, which was based around a chapel linked with the Order of St Columba.

Steven Birch, of West Coast Archaeology, said: "We knew there was a possibility of an earlier chapel with Columban foundations dating back to the early Medieval period, which is believed to be the earliest settlement at Kingussie."

He added: "Even while this phase of work is coming to its conclusion, we're really only at the beginning of the story and there may be a lot more this site can reveal in the future."

Following studies of the remains, the bones will be placed in a burial ground near where they were found.

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