» Skip to content

Belmont Longhouse Excavation

Belmont Longhouse Excavation

Excavation at Belmont revealed that, although the site was situated quite high up the hill, on land that, by today’s standards, is of poor agricultural quality, it had been a thriving farm for a long period and underwent many changes.

Belmont Excavation Belmont Excavation Zoom

The longhouse was boat shaped with one curving wall and one straight wall (typical of Scottish longhouses) and was built on rock where cup-marks had been carved during the Bronze Age.  The longhouse itself underwent three major building phases, the latest of which was much shorter, and not in keeping with other similar longhouse layouts.  Excavation showed that the area was drained before building began and there are a series of drains inside and outside the house, one of which diverted a burn.  

The deposits inside the house were well preserved, with evidence of benches, hearths, postholes, gullies and paved areas.  There was also an outhouse or workshop outside.  

Cup marked stone at Belmont Excavation Cup marked stone at Belmont Excavation Zoom

Survey and soil analysis demonstrated that the hillside was used for hay meadow and grazing.  Just outside the house, excavation revealed an oval enclosure, possibly a roughly built outhouse. Slag and microscopic hammerscale, (tiny drops, resulting from hitting molten metal) the bi-products of metal working, were found here.

More than 1000 objects were found during the excavation at Belmont. Many of these are made of soapstone, or steatite, and are of Norse or Viking design.  A beautifully made soapstone lamp was discovered in a post-hole as part of the packing material for the post. It is thought it may have broken before it was finished, so put to another use.

Read more about the Belmont Trail.