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'Water' terrific find made in Kingussie!

By SPP Reporter

Friary, Carmelite Friary, Middle Ages, Mill Road, Kingussie High Street, Scottish Water
Friary, Carmelite Friary, Middle Ages, Mill Road, Kingussie High Street, Scottish Water

EXPERTS have said there is still much in the pipeline when it comes to telling the story of Kingussie's forgotten friary uncovered during recent work by Scottish Water.

The firm has just completed the project that will help to safeguard the future of supply of the water network in Mill Road and the High Street.

But progress was briefly interrupted in early December, last year, by the discovery of the foundations of a long forgotten Carmelite friary, together with human remains believed to date back to the Middle Ages.

In consultation with Highland Council, a specialist archaeological consultant working for Scottish Water recorded the finds.

A full report on the discovery will be published later in the year once post-excavation analysis is completed.

Scottish Water's project manager Ailsa Shaw said: "At Highland Council's request, we had an archaeologist on site to monitor the work close to the old burial ground, but the discovery of such a fascinating part of Kingussie's past was a surprise.

"It's exciting that our work will help an important part of the community's story to be told – and we look forward to seeing the results of the archaeological follow-up work later in the year."

Steven Birch of West Coast Archaeology is carrying out the archaeological work on Scottish Water's behalf.

He commented: "The story of this site is still emerging and will continue to do so as the results of post-excavation analysis are returned over the months ahead.

"What we found was the foundations of an early church, with fragmentary burials placed within its walls, as was once common practice.

"It's likely this was associated with the Carmelite friary that we believe was established in the area over 500 years ago.

"However, some records suggest the presence of an earlier chapel at the site with Columban foundations, which may date to the Early Medieval period.

"Radiocarbon dating of the human remains will be crucial in establishing an overall chronology for the remains of the church and the human remains it contains.

"The continuing work should allow us to confirm this and provide an insight to life in the area during that period."

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