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The Family of Birnie

Exhibit at Elgin Museum (photos) 

K.Birnie, 2000

Birnie Palace Location   1798 Parish Survey 1835 Parish Survey

Birnie Round Houses: Excavations of the Village of Birnie reveal the Roman presence in Aberdeenshire.

Archaeologists are to return to an Iron Age "power centre" to further investigate the influence of the Romans on the north of Scotland. (BBC article: Steven McKenzie)

Dr Fraser Hunter, of the National Museums of Scotland, will lead the dig at Birnie, near Elgin, next month. Roman coin hordes have previously been found in the area. Dr Hunter said he hoped the work would further uncover clues to an Iron Age community there and the emergence of ancient people known as the Picts. The archaeologists will look at a number of key target sites in what will be the final phase of excavations at Birnie.

Dr Hunter, principal curator of Roman archaeology, said it had been a "power centre" going back 3,000 years. He said: "Around the Roman Iron Age it really flourished and was a place with Roman connections."


New details continue to emerge about ancient Rome, including the find of the "best preserved" Roman towns in Britain recently made in Monmouthshire. Researchers from Texas State University have also challenged the traditional view of when Romans invaded Britain, by studying tides in the English Channel. Roman coins were found on a beach on the Uists, Western Isles, a year ago. Silver coins discovered previously were believed to be bribes to keep the chieftan and local population on side with Rome, said Dr Hunter.

He said: "The site shows the influence of Rome beyond the edge of the empire." The coins were thought to have been buried as a religious offering. Dr Hunter said: "A series of strange things have also been found recently. A intact decorative pot buried upside down and a whet stone, a lovely rectangular object hardly used and not the kind of thing that would be have been discarded. "We think these were buried as sacrifices as offerings to the gods." Evidence of Roman influence outside the boundaries of the empire have been found across northern Scotland.

Excavation photos by Megalithic Portal    BBC: Dr. Fraser, Excavations at Birnie