Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Window Reopened at Thirteenth-Century Castle

Friday, January 24, 2014

(Dave Fergusson)

KILCHOAN, SCOTLAND—With the help of a stonemason, archaeologists have opened a window at Mingary Castle that was probably sealed 500 years ago. “Considering it’s been there so long, the mortar is incredibly hard, so it took a good half-hour and some gentle persuasion with a small pneumatic drill before they finally broke through,” said Jon Haylett of the Mingary Castle Preservation and Restoration Trust. The thirteenth-century castle, which overlooks the northwestern coast, had been fortified to withstand cannon fire. Earlier castle defenders would have used the windows to fire arrows and crossbolts down onto their attackers, in addition to using the windows for light and air. A groove around the window may have held a wooden board to close it when needed. The castle is being restored.