Case Study: Archaeological Work by NTS in the Highlands

Derek Alexander and Daniel Rhodes

The National Trust for Scotland has 17 properties that fall within the Highland Council area and are therefore covered by the Highland Archaeological Research Framework. These properties form a microcosm of the Trust’s national portfolio and include battlefields, country house estates, gardens and designed landscapes, mountains, islands and coastline, beauty spots and vernacular architecture. Some of these properties are very small, consisting of a single building, while others are entire islands or mountains and glens. In total, the area within Trust ownership is 28,188 hectares and includes over 1,850 archaeological sites and features (Appendix 1). Of this total, 19 sites are designated as Scheduled Monuments and 17 are Listed Buildings. This case study forms an overview of the archaeological work undertaken at these Highland properties and how they fit into the Trust’s charitable aims: to protect, promote and provide experiences of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

Map of Scotland with the Highlands highlighted and NTS sites marked and with their sizes stated.
Figure 1: NTS properties in the Highland Council area ©NTS
Landscape Survey

When the Trust employed its first archaeologist, Robin Turner, in 1993 one of the main tasks was to undertake walkover landscape surveys of the large countryside properties in order to get a basic understanding of what types of field monuments and features there were and what they might be. These surveys were undertaken by a range of archaeological consultants, commercial units and the RCAHMS. These generally provided maps (usually at 1:10,000 scale) with each archaeological feature marked on it, with a catalogue of descriptions and sometimes a series of accompanying photographs or sketch plans and drawings. At Balmacara Estate the initial survey work was undertaken by Martin Wildgoose on behalf of Dualchas Museum Service of Skye and Lochalsh and was carried out in four stages (1994, 1995, 1996a & 1996b). Many of the other properties were surveyed by Jill Harden and Jonathan Wordsworth and the results were presented in white A4 ring binders with colour print photographs of individual sites. Glencoe was completed in 1996, then Kintail and West Affric in 1997, Inverewe in 1998 and finally Torridon between 1996 and 2002 (Harden & Wordsworth 1996, 2002; Harden 1998; Wordsworth & Harden 1997). Also in the mid-1990s the RCAHMS embarked on ‘the systematic mapping of the Small Isles’, starting with Canna in 1994 (Hunter 2016, 41). This resulted in a detailed mapped survey of the entire island, and of adjacent Sanday, which was published in a very useful fold-out Broadsheet, with a wonderful map at the scale of 1:11,500 (RCAHMS 1999a). The Commission went on to survey the other Small Isles and the resulting volume is the best example of modern landscape survey in the Highlands (Hunter 2016). Much of this survey work was funded by money raised by a Trust Archaeology Appeal, with matching funding from Historic Scotland (Bremner 2001, 232).

In 2000 the Trust employed Jill Harden as a dedicated Highlands and Islands Archaeologist based out of the offices, at Balnain House, in Inverness. Jill was in post until 2007 when the post was amalgamated with the Trust’s south-west Archaeology post in Glasgow. In the seven years as an in-house archaeologist Jill built on the work of her previous surveys and continued to add sites to the record and fine tune the detail. The Balmacara survey, for example, was updated into a four volume A4 ring-binder survey report in 2002, similar to the coverage of the other main countryside properties (Glencoe, Torridon and Inverewe).

The data from all of these surveys fed into ‘Discovery and Excavation in Scotland’ on an annual basis and then into the National Monuments Record of Scotland and the Canmore website. From 2014–16 the Trust employed a fixed term Archaeology Data Officer post, filled by Stefan Sagrott, to review this data and to produce digitised polygons of the known extent of archaeological features to be used as a layer in our GIS.

Historic Building Survey

One of the key facets of the Trust’s portfolio has been the conservation of vernacular buildings and in the Highland Council area these include Hugh Miller’s Cottage in Cromarty, Beaton’s Crofthouse on Skye, Balnain House and Abertarf House in the centre of Inverness. While some of these conservation projects were undertaken before the introduction of detailed archaeological building recording increasingly major works are preceded by such survey work. Beaton’s Croft House has been the subject of a survey. In addition, there are vernacular buildings on a number of the larger countryside properties which have been surveyed. Particular examples to pick out would be The Square at Balmacara which was recorded before it was converted into community housing (Kirkdale Archaeology 1998) and numerous structures on the island of Canna: including Canna House (Sproat & Hudson 2016), Coroghon and Change House Barns (Geddes 2007), Coroghon Castle (Dalland 2008; Wright 2009), The Bothy (Dunn 1997), and Point House and St Edwards Church (Dunn 2001). On Culloden battlefield historic building surveys have been completed for both King’s Stables Cottage (Addyman 1999) and Old Leanach Cottage (Gow 2009). Boath Doocot, which stands on top of a 12th century motte at Auldearn, has also been recorded in detail (Addyman 1999) and includes a lovely cross-section drawing showing all the stone-built bird boxes.

Figure 2: View of early 18th century 2 storey thatched cottage; Hugh Miller’s Cottage, Cromarty. ©HES

In addition to these buildings the Trust has had a long-standing programme of works, The Little Houses Improvement Scheme (LHIS), to save vernacular buildings across the country. In Highland Council area LHIS projects have included houses in Golspie, Cromarty, Conicaval and a number of buildings in Inverness including Dunbar’s Hospital and 109 and 111 Church Street (Watters & Glendinning 2006, 164–182).

Detailed Monument Survey

Once the general distribution of archaeological sites on Trust properties was recorded, through the walk-over surveys, a number of specific sites were identified for more detailed mapping, to help both with interpretation purposes and management. On Canna, RCAHMS undertook plans of the later prehistoric fort and dun sites, the souterrain, the monastic enclosure at Sgorr nam Ban-naomha (MHG5631) and the remains of the 18th century township at Tarbert (RCAHMS 1999a; Hunter 2016). RCAHMS also produced an incredible record of the carved Early Christian cross which stands in the field at Keill (MHG13828) on Canna and another dozen or so carved stones that are located either in the current graveyard or have been moved to Canna House. Subsequent work by the Trust on Canna has involved detailed measured survey of the current graveyard (Alexander et al 2013) and photogrammetric model of the 17th century burial slab, known locally as the Clanranald stone.

At other Trust Highland properties detailed surveys have been undertaken of the Scheduled Monuments of Strome Castle (MHG7648; Alexander 2019a), the open-air churches at Plockton, Balmacara (MHG30915; Wildgoose 1998a) and another at Fasag, Torridon (Wildgoose 1998b), the early chapel site at Cill Fhearchair, Shiel Bridge, Kintail (MHG7459; Sagrott 2015a). Undesignated sites have also been the subject of detailed mapping including areas of the post-medieval and crofting settlements at Leacan Bàna peninsula and Àrd Ghoibhle, Torridon (Sagrott 2015b). During the walkover surveys of Balamacara, Wildgoose also produced measured plans of other sites including the post-medieval settlement at Scalpaidh (Dualchas 1996a, Site 49) and the Second World War army camps and gun batteries above Reraig (Dualchas 1995, Site 44) and on Creag Loisgte (Dualchas 1996a, Site 67). Along the western edge of the property at Balmacara, plans were drawn of the core of the crofting townships at Drumbuie and Erbusaig (Dualchas 1996b). Elsewhere, detailed survey has been combined with excavation work at Glenshiel, Glencoe and Inverewe (see below), amongst others.

Condition Monitoring

A major part of the Trust’s role to protect cultural heritage is through ownership, which means that generally our sites are protected from major development, although some have been the subject of visitor infrastructure improvements. There is also an ongoing need to monitor the condition of our archaeological resource, to identify sites at risk and to propose mitigation measures.

With the establishment of a baseline of data on the location and form of archaeological sites identified by landscape surveys, programmes of condition monitoring were implemented successfully at a number of places by Trust property staff, usually Rangers. This worked well at Balmacara, Kintail and Glencoe where sites were visited and reported on over a number of years. At other properties condition monitoring was undertaken as part of the work of Trust working holidays, Thistle Camps, at Torridon and on Canna. A small group of volunteers supervised by Trust Archaeologists visited and photographed known sites and input data using a tablet-based system ODKCollect (Sagrott and Alexander 2015; Sagrott 2016 & 2017). During these walk-over surveys the opportunity was also taken to conduct some more detailed mapping of specific sites and some kite photography, for example of the hut circles at the west end of Canna.

Palaeoenvironmental Research

In order to understand the vegetation history of some properties a number of pollen cores have been taken and examined by palaeoenvironmental specialists. Work was undertaken in West Affric (Tipping 2003b; Davies & Tipping 2004; Tipping, Davis & Tisdall 2006).

Geophysical survey and Metal detecting

Both Culloden and Canna were quite early targets for geophysical survey work and they have continued to attract further surveys since. The area of the medieval chapel site and the township at Keill on Canna was surveyed using a combination of resistance and gradiometery techniques which revealed the outline of stone chapel, and smaller areas were surveyed over the souterrains and a Neolithic mound (Ovenden 2015a–c). Geophysics has been employed to great effect elsewhere across the Trust at many of the castles and country houses but also at battlefields.

Geophysical survey was first conducted at Culloden in 1994 (Banks 2010) where it was used to help identify the former position of the Leanach enclosure, again as part of the Two Men in a Trench TV programme the focus was around Old Leanach Cottage (Pollard and Oliver 2002). In advance of construction work for the new visitor centre in 2007 the ground was covered by geophysical survey work (Banks 2010) although subsequent trial trenching and watching briefs did not identify anything of archaeological significance. Where geophysical survey has proved successful is in the area of the Graves of the Clans where Ground Penetrating Radar survey confirmed that the mounds do indeed sit above pit features (Banks 2010). In addition, as part of research work undertaken in the ‘Field of the English’ geophysical survey located a number of anomalies some of which may be prehistoric settlement remains and also picked up traces of rig-and-furrow cultivation running south-west to north-east and across which the Highlanders must have charged.

The other technique, which has proven more successful and indeed essential, for understanding battlefield sites is the use of systematic metal-detecting. This proved very effective at Culloden in the ‘Field of the English’ in 2005, where analyses of the finds identified different calibres of musket balls and pistol shot, fragments of mortar shell, grape shot and case shot (Pollard 2009, 142–161, Plate 13) but also a range of personal items such as buttons, a cross, coins, and buckles. A representative sample of this material is now on display in the visitor centre.

More recently one of the Trust’s other Jacobite battlefields the 1719 engagement at Glenshiel, in Kintail, has also been the subject of metal detecting. Here fragments of coehorn mortar shells were found below the position of the Jacobite right wing and an impacted musket ball8 was found beside the Spanish entrenchments in the Jacobite centre, probably fired by the dismounted Government dragoons as the attacked up the slope (Alexander et al 2020).

LiDAR, Drone Surveys and 3D modelling

As with metal-detecting, our other remote-sensing activities have focused on the Trust properties of Culloden and Canna. In order to set the Trust’s ownership of land at Culloden into the context of the wider battlefield, a LiDAR survey of the entire area enclosed within the loop of the Inverness/Aviemore railway line was commissioned in 2015 from BlueSky . This work was funded with resources raised through the successful running of the visitor centre and allocated by the then Culloden property manager. The data was initially used to produce a detailed image of the Graves of the Clans area and is currently being used to produce a GIS management tool for the Trust.

Rather than using airborne LiDAR survey for modelling the topography and archaeology of the island of Canna, in 2018 the Trust decided to try using a different technique and Paul Georgie, of GeoGeo, conducted a survey using a fixed-wing drone/unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and photogrammetry. The resulting model is a wonderful resource for understanding and interpreting the island.

On a completely different scale photogrammetry has been used to produce 3D models of both the standing stone at Cill Fhearchair, Shiel Bridge, in Kintail and also a human skull, from Culloden battlefield, now in the collection of the Surgeons Hall Museum, in Edinburgh. Both models can be viewed on the NTS-Archaeology SketchFab page ( ).

Archaeological Excavations

Perhaps unsurprisingly there were very few recorded archaeological excavations carried out on Trust properties in the Highlands prior to there being an in-house archaeologist on staff. Indeed the lack of in-house knowledge had been highlighted in the early 1990s and, coupled with the emergence of archaeology as part of the planning process, led to recruitment in 1993 (Bremner 2001, 231). Before then there had been some limited excavations of a cairn on Canna carried out by T C Lethbridge (1925), and also some trial trenching at Balnain House (MHG15565) and Abertarff House (MHG3865) in Inverness as part of a programme of investigations across the historic burgh (Farnell & Ewart 1978, 75).


However, after 1993, the number of investigations carried out on Trust land increased dramatically. Prof John Hunter, and a team of students from the University of Birmingham, undertook excavations around the early Christian cross at Keill on Canna in 1994 and also some exploration of 18th/19th century kelp kilns on Sanday (Hunter 1994; Hunter 2016, 65–6, 96–7). Apart from some small watching brief work, the next set of major investigations on Canna was undertaken by three Thistle Camps, Trust working holidays, supervised by two Trust Archaeologists (Jill Harden and Derek Alexander) from 2004–2006.  These excavations were carried out to investigate the damage that was being caused by burrowing rabbits to an 18th century township at Greod on Sanday (Harden 2015a), at a shieling at Cnoc Bhrostan (Harden 2014) and on one of the early prehistoric settlement mounds at Beinn Tighe (Harden 2015b). The latter site was excavated further in 2007 and was subsequently the target of some geophysical surveys (Ovenden 2015c).

In addition to these more research-led investigations, the Trust also worked with the local community on Canna to complete trial trenching work in advance of local community developments, such as the Canna Shop (Alexander & Connor 2013), in advance of the construction of wind turbines and solar panels (Alexander et al 2016) and finally in advance of the new access road on Sanday (Alexander 2018). In 2007, the entire Trust archaeology team (then four posts) went across to Canna and organised a very successful Archaeology Day Event for the pupils from the Small Isles and Mallaig primary Schools, as part of the Year of Highland Culture.

Many of the Trust properties in the Highlands have close connections with the Jacobite Uprisings: including Culloden (1746), Glenfinnan (1745), Glenshiel (1719) and Glencoe (1692). Over the last 20 years Trust projects have targeted some of these locations for excavation.


Despite the extensive survey work undertaken at Culloden, including LiDAR, geophysics, metal-detecting (described above), there has actually only been limited excavation on the battlefield. The most productive work was undertaken around Old Leanach Cottage. In 2000, as part of the Two Men in a Trench TV programme, trenches were opened across the banks south of the cottage, which turned out to be a 19th century vegetable garden (Pollard and Oliver 2002). In 2005, a geophysical anomaly 25m east of the cottage was tested by two trial trenches and turned out to be the possible foundations for a turf and timber structure (Pollard 2009, 139–140, Fig 20). Although trial trenching and a watching brief were conducted during the construction of the new visitor centre nothing of archaeological significance was located.


The Glenfinnan Monument was built to commemorate the raising of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s standard in 1745. It was commissioned by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale to a design by James Gillespie Graham. The original form included a two-storey stone-built and crenelated ‘bothy’ attached to the main door into the tower. The tower and bothy were surrounded by a circular drystone wall. In the 1830s, the bothy was demolished and the rubble was used to build the current octagonal enclosure around the tower. Excavations in 1999 and 2002 located the robbed-out foundation trench for the bothy and investigated a series of slot trenches across the original circular enclosure wall (Hind 1999, Harden 2002). Repair works to the tower in 2016 required further watching briefs and a photogrammetric record of the tower.


Excavation work was conducted in 2018–19 on the battlefield at Glenshiel, which forms part of the National Trust for Scotland’s Kintail estate. The work was carried out by volunteer archaeologists as part of a Trust Thistle Camp (Alexander & Jepson 2018; Alexander et al 2019). Excavation was carried out on the three small trenches within the Scheduled area on Spanish Hill: one within the polygonal enclosure, another over a shieling structure and the third trench over an entrenchment constructed by the Spanish troops. The latter appeared to show a stone-built terrace that must have been fronted by a drystone breastwork wall. The only significant metal detecting find from within the scheduled area was a flattened musket ball found at the foot of a large bedrock outcrop below the Spanish position.

On the south side of the River Shiel, metal detecting transects covered the slopes up to the summit where the Jacobite right wing had been positioned. On the north-facing slope, at the foot of the largest vertical cliff face, were recovered seven sherds of coehorn mortar shell from four separate finds spots.


Volunteers working as part of a National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camp undertook survey and excavation work at the township of Achtriachtan in Glencoe in 2018 and 2019 (Alexander 2019b). The site of this settlement is marked on General William Roy’s military map from the 1750s which shows eight buildings on the north side of the trackway through the glen.

In 2018, a full measured survey of the township was completed. This survey located the position of five buildings, a grain-drying kiln and four banked enclosures, which all show some traces of cultivation rigs inside. Two trenches were excavated over Structure 1 which revealed a flagstone floor at the western end of the building that included a lower stone from a rotary quern. Artefacts from the eastern end included a sherd of trailed slip ware and a sherd of manganese mottled ware. A further small linear trench was excavated across the western bank of the small enclosure in front of Structure 2 along with a couple of test pits within this enclosure.

In 2019, the entire inside of Structure 1 was opened for excavation in three larger areas separated by two 0.6m wide baulks. The remains of the structure were 10.5m long by 4m wide internally and would have had walls 0.8-1.0m wide. Excavation also revealed, however, that the foundations of the walls had been heavily robbed – probably for upgrading the road and the construction of the 19th century sheep farms and enclosures to the south. Only two short stretches of internal wall face were identified close to the south-east corner. No exterior wall faces were identified. The western two-thirds of the structure were paved with irregular flagstones and there were traces of an internal drain running across the floor at the western end. Artefacts recovered included further sherds of a trailed slipware, part of a salt-glazed plate, shards of both bottle and window glass. One notable find was the corroded remains of an iron lock that may have come from a piece of wooden furniture – possibly a dresser.

A review of some of the historical records associated with Glencoe has managed to identify not only the tacksmen of Achtriachtan, but also some of the individuals who lived in the township in the 18th century.

In addition to the Jacobite period battlefields, settlements and memorials, archaeological excavation in the Trust’s Highland properties has included investigations into later prehistoric roundhouses at Inverewe, a medieval castle at Strome and a 19th century planned farmsteading at Balmacara Square.


Between 2015 and 2019, a series of excavations were undertaken on Inverewe Estate under the Trust’s public participation ALIVE (Archaeology and Landscape at Inverewe) initiative. The project, directed by Trust Archaeologist Dr Daniel Rhodes, targeted two hut circles (Ob Na Ba Ruaidhe and Allt Thuirnaig) in sheltered bays on the coast of Loch Ewe and excavated a nearby burnt mound (Allt Thuirnaig). The excavations uncovered building materials, a Neolithic flint scraper and evidence of extensive iron working. Two C14 samples from Allt Thuirnaig returned dates of 770–486 cal BC and cal 2133–1930 cal BC. Excavations at the burnt mound produced an early-Bronze Age date from its earliest deposit (2026–1892 cal BC).

Upstanding remains of later prehistoric roundhouses were also located during the walkover surveys of Canna, Kintail, Torridon and Balmacara.

Strome Castle

The remains of the ruinous medieval Strome Castle were the subject of some limited trial trenching in 1994. Although few artefacts were recovered, the excavation did reveal a complex structural history, and located the deeply buried remains of the lower story of the medieval tower and an adjacent well (Cullen and Driscoll 1995). In 2018, this scheduled site was the target of illegal metal-detecting and a survey was undertaken (Alexander 2019a).

Balmacara Square

Last but not least, excavation work at Balmacara focussed on the 19th century estate buildings of the home farm. When ‘The Square’ at Balmacara was renovated into community housing and small commercial units in the late 1990s an extensive programme of survey and excavation was carried out. The survey work recorded the layout of the buildings, the adjacent ice-house, mill pond and mill, and produced plans and elevations of the upstanding buildings (Dunn 1998). In addition to the mill (Wildgoose 1995), excavations were carried out across the complex and included a total of 26 trenches, many to investigate the mill pond and lade system (Wildgoose 1999).


This review of archaeological work at properties belonging to the National Trust for Scotland in the area of Highland Council has highlighted just how much has been done over the last 28 years. Over 50 reports have been completed, but despite the results being published in DES and included in Canmore, much of this work is not well-known. This is largely because they are unpublished grey literature reports and are generally kept within the Trust offices, at properties, in Inverness and the Head Office in Edinburgh. Another reason for the limited awareness of the Trust’s archaeological work is the fact that a lot of the work has built up over time, incrementally. It should be noted that the major elements of this work have made their way into Trust interpretation materials: panels, leaflets and guidebooks. Some stories, often the fieldwork element, have featured in local and national media and social media.  Twitter and Facebook (see links below) have also been used to disseminate results.

While extensive this review is only part of the picture but does at least cover the major surveys and excavations. It does not include the numerous small-scale watching briefs and surveys undertaken as part of the day-to-day conservation work of the Trust. It also does not include the work undertaken at the two Guardianship sites in the Highlands that are owned by the National Trust for Scotland but managed by Historic Environment Scotland: the Clava Cairns and Urquhart Castle.

The gradual accumulation of archaeological knowledge over time reflects the nature of the Trust’s conservation work and the long-term planning that it is often based on. Since 1993 the Trust have undertaken or commissioned detailed survey work that has provided a base level of archaeological data to help with conservation management decisions. This solid foundation has been built on by focused site surveys and targeted excavations. The Highland Archaeological Research Framework has provided an ideal opportunity to review this work and to help shape thinking towards the Trust’s archaeological strategy for the next 10 years. This will link into the larger Trust-wide strategy that is currently being developed as the organisation moves towards its centenary in 2031.

Archaeological Work by the NTS in the Highlands Bibliography

Addyman, T 1999a King’s Stables Cottage, Culloden, Inverness-shire. An Architectural Record. Final report March 1999. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Addyman, T 1999b Boath Doocot and Dooket Hill, Auldearn, Nairnshire: An Architectural Record and Survey. Final report November 1999. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Alexander, D and Connor, S 2013 Canna Community Shop Building recording and Watching Brief. Internal NTS Report, August 2013.

Alexander, D & Jepson, A 2019 Glenshiel Battlefield, Kintail. Trial Trenching 2018, Data Structure Report. February 2019. Unpublished report by the National Trust for Scotland.

Alexander, D, McPherson, C and Shearer, J 2016 Canna Renewable Energy, Archaeological Evaluation and Recording, Data Structure Report.

Alexander, D 2018 Sanday – New Track, Archaeological Evaluation and Recording, Data Structure Report. Internal NTS Report

Alexander, D 2019a Survey Plan of Strome Castle. Unpublished report by the National Trust for Scotland. Internal NTS Report.

Alexander, D 2019b Achtriachtan, Glencoe, Trial Trenching 2018 and 2019. Data Structure Report. November 2019. Unpublished report by the National Trust for Scotland.

Alexander, D, Ahlers, M & Connor, S 2013 A’ Chill Graveyard Survey, Canna, Data Structure Report. Internal NTS Report, April 2013.

Alexander, D, Carlton, L & Grater, E 2020 Glenshiel Battlefield, Kintail. Trial Trenching 2019, Data Structure Report. May 2020. Unpublished report by the National Trust for Scotland.

Banks, I 2010 Geophysics at Culloden. GUARD Report 12028. Unpublished (draft) report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Bremner, D 2001 For the Benefit of the Nation: The National Trust for Scotland: The First 70 Years.

Cullen, IS & Drsicoll, ST 1995 Trial Excavations at Strome Castle, Wester Ross. GUARD Report 184.

Dalland, M 2008 Historic Building Survey of Coroghon Castle, Canna. Unpublished report undertaken by Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd on behalf of NTS

Davies, A L and Tipping, R 2004 ‘Sensing small-scale human activity in the palaeoecological record: fine spatial resolution pollen analyses from West Glen Affric, northern Scotland’, The Holocene 14, 233–245.

Dualchas Museums Service 1994 Survey of Parts of the Balmacara Estate. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Dualchas Museums Service 1995 An Archaeological Survey of the Balmacara Estate. Phase 2 – 1995 Survey. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Dualchas Museums Service 1996a An Archaeological Survey of the Balmacara Estate. Phase 3 – 1996 Survey. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Dualchas Museums Service 1996b An Archaeological Survey of the Balmacara Estate. Phase 4 – 1996 Inbye land. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Dunn, A 1997 The Bothy, Canna, Archaeological Recording. Unpublished report by Kirkdale Archaeology on behalf of NTS.

Dunn, A 1998 Balmacara Square – Contour Survey and Archaeological Recording of the Mill and Cottages. Kirkdale Archaeology.

Dunn A 2001 Point House & St Edward’s Church. Sanday, Archaeological Recording. 2 volumes, February 2001. Unpublished report commissioned by NTS

Farnell, G and Ewart, G 1978 Inverness Burgh, trial trenches‘, entry in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1978, 75.

Geddes, G 2007 Coroghon and Change House Barns, Island of Canna. Historic Building Recording. Unpublished report by Headland Archaeology on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland.

Gow, A 2009 Old Leanach Cottage, Culloden, Inverness-shire. Desk-based Assessment and Architectural Record: march 2009. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland

Harden, J 1998 Inverewe Archaeology Survey 1998. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland

Harden, J 2002 Excavations at Glenfinnan 2002. Unpublished internal report by the National Trust for Scotland

Harden, J 2003 Inverewe – an Archaeological and Historical Review. Unpublished internal report for the National Trust for Scotland.

Harden, J 2014 Canna – excavation of a shieling hut mound below Cnoc Bhrostan, north of Coroghon, 2005. November 2014. Unpublished report commissioned by NTS.

Harden, J 2015a Canna – excavation at buildings L and J, Greod on Sanday, 2004. January 2015 Unpublished report commissioned by NTS.

Harden, J 2015b Canna – excavation of Neolithic settlement mounds at Beinn Tighe 2006 & 2007. February 2015 Unpublished report commissioned by NTS.

Harden, J & Wordsworth, J 1996 Glencoe Archaeology Survey 1996. 3 Volumes, Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Harden, J & Wordsworth, J 2002 Torridon: An Archaeological Survey. 1996–2002, 4 Volumes. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland with grant aid from Historic Scotland.

Hind, D 1999 Excavations at Glenfinnan Monument. September 1998. Unpublished internal report for the National Trust for Scotland.

Hunter, J 1994 Archaeological fieldwork on the islands of Canna and Sanday, Inner Hebrides, Summer 1994. Dept of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford. Unpublished report commissioned by NTS.

Hunter, J 2016 The Small Isles. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh.

Kirkdale Archaeology 1998 Balmacara Square – Contour Survey and Archaeological Recording of the Mill and Cottages. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Lethbridge, T C 1925 Exploration of a cairn on Canna, Proc Soc Antiq Scot 59 (1924–5), 238–9.

Ovenden, S 2015a Canna: A’ Chill – Geophysical Survey Report. RGC15141cCAC. Unpublished report by Rose Geophysics commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland.

Ovenden, S 2015b Canna: Beinn Tighe – Souterrain – Geophysical Survey Report. RGC15141CBJS. Unpublished report by Rose Geophysics commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland.

Ovenden, S 2015c Canna: Beinn Tighe – Neolithic site. Unpublished report by Rose Geophysics commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland.

Pollard, T and Oliver, N 2002 Two Men in a Trench: Battlefield Archaeology, the Key to Unlocking the Past. (Michael Joseph/Penguin).

Pollard, T (ed) 2009 Culloden: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle.

Pollard, T 2009 Capturing the Moment: archaeology of Culloden Battlefield, Chapter 6 in T Pollard (ed) 2009, 130–162.

RCAHMS 1999 RCAHMS Broadsheet 5, Canna: The Archaeology of a Hebridean Landscape. Edinburgh: RCAHMS and NTS.

Sagrott, S 2015a A Measured Survey of Cille Fhearchair, Shiel Bridge, Kintail. May 2015. Unpublished report by The National Trust for Scotland.

Sagrott, S 2015b Targeted Landscape Survey of the Leacan Bàna peninsula and Àrd Ghoibhle, Torridon. Unpublished report by The National Trust for Scotland.

Sagrott, S 2016 Targeted Survey of Wester Alligin & the Doire Field, Torridon. Unpublished report by The National Trust for Scotland.

Sagrott, S and Alexander, D 2016 Canna & Sanday Cultural Heritage Condition Monitoring 2015: Report. Unpublished report by The National Trust for Scotland.

Sproat, D and Hudson, H 2016 Canna Hose, Canna, Inner Hebrides: Historic Building Report. AOC Project 23057. Unpublished report by AOC Archaeology Ltd commissioned by The National Trust for Scotland.

Tipping, R 2003b The Quaternary of Glen Affric & Kintail, Quaternary Research Association: London.

Tipping, R, Davies, A L and Tisdall, E 2006 ‘Long term woodland stability and instability in West Glen Affric, northern Scotland’, Forestry 79, 351–359.

Watters, D & Glendinning, M 2006 Little Houses: The National Trust for Scotland’s Improvement Scheme for Small Historic Homes. Edinburgh. RCAHMS & The National Trust for Scotland.

Wildgoose, M 1995 Balmacara Mill Excavation. Dualchas Museum Service. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Wildgoose, M 1999 Balmacara Square Archaeological Excavations. Excavations report. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland

Wildgoose, M 1998a Plockton Open Air Church (NG 8011 3023) A record of the work carried out by Conservation Volunteers. April 20th-23rd 1998. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland

Wildgoose, M 1998b Open Air Church, Torridon (NG 8952 5624) The Recording and Consolidation of the remains. July 1998. Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Wordsworth, J and Harden, J 1997 Kintail and West Affric Archaeological Survey 1997 3 Volumes  Unpublished report commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland with grant aid from Historic Scotland.

Wright, A 2009 Coroghon Castle, Isle of Canna. Conservation Plan Unpublished report commissioned by NTS by Andrew PK Wright, Chartered Architect & Heritage Consultant, July 2009

SketchFab links

Cill Fhearchair Standing Stone, Kintail

Battle of Culloden Skull

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Appendix 1 – Table of NTS Highland Properties and their Archaeological Resource

Beside each property are columns that list the number of Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs), Listed buildings (LBs) and the overall known number of individual archaeological sites identified largely as a result of walk-over surveys. There are two further columns which indicate whether part of that property is included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes and the Inventory of Historic Battlefields. Then there are two columns which indicate whether detailed Historic Landscape Surveys (HLS), Designed Landscape Surveys (DLS) or Historic Building Surveys (HBS) have been carried out.  The comments column provides a brief description of the type of archaeology and the major pieces of survey work carried out there.

NTS Property in Highland Council Area
SAMsLBsKnown Arch. sitesInventory of Gardens and Designed LandscapeInventory of Historic BattlefieldsHLS/ DLSHBSArea in HaComments
Boath Doocot114NYNY2.45Medieval castle motte, battlefield, and doocot in designed landscape feature of Boath House plus architectural interest. Partial HBS drawn record of doocot.
Culloden106NYNY67.83Buried archaeology relating to the battle may still survive over the internationally important cultural landscape, which includes Old Leanach and King’s Stables Cottages..
Glencoe & Dalness01115NNYN5611.70Associative cultural significance re Massacre, relates to existing and buried ruins, buildings and townships and important re new understandings of post-Rising economic and social changes. Survey work carried out by Jill Harden.
Glenfinnan Monument011NNNN2.67Association with Charles Edward Stuart, and with significant Jacobite family at Glenfinnan, architect Gillespie Graham,; buried traces of former building originally attached to of monument. Survey carried out by Jill Harden.
Miller House & Hugh Miller’s Cottage025NNNN0.12Important parts of Cromarty townscape, plus embedded archaeology in buildings and their gardens. Plus three houses not open to the public – 1 tenanted and 2 holiday cottages all of historic importance
Inverewe Garden and Estate0154YNYN856.74Certain prehistoric, historic and WW2 remains of importance.  Survey by Jill Harden.
Balmacara Estate & Lochalsh Woodland Garden11215YNYN2570.56Important vernacular buildings, including the home farm of Balmacara and the planned village of Plockton, within a crofting cultural landscape, as well as a range of prehistoric settlements. Surveyed by Jill Harden.
Beaton’s Crofthouse011NNNY0.15Mainly important for vernacular building archaeology.
Canna1251024YNYY1318.01Extensive archaeological remains of all periods, comprising a nationally important relict cultural landscape as well as the nationally important early Christian free-standing sculpted cross. Detailed survey of island by RCAHMS and HBS of Coroghon Barn, Castle and Old Canna House
Corrieshalloch Gorge NNR013NNNN29.88Victorian path network of interest.
Kintail & Morvich & Falls of Glomach20175NYYN11218.37Glenshiel battle site of particular importance but there is also an extensive and significant prehistoric and pre-improvement cultural landscape surviving in the glens. Survey by Jill Harden
Shieldaig Island001NNNN12.19No known archaeology, but some potential.
Strome Castle101NNNY0.32Important landscape feature, with extensive archaeological deposits associated. Trial trenching and standing building recording work by Glasgow University.
Torridon10224NNYN6497.6Important Crofting landscape with townships and associated features – a striking 19th century historic environment. Archaeology survey by Jill Harden.
West Affric0030NNYN(incl in Kintail)Known to have been used from prehistoric times, but only post-medieval sites recorded. Archaeology survey by Jill Harden.
Balnain House012NNNN0.05 
Abertarff House012NNNN0.04 
Church Street011NNNN0.01