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Scottish Clan Seal Discovered on Islay

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Uni Reading Cawdor SealISLAY, SCOTLAND—According to a report in The Herald, a field school student has unearthed the seal of Sir John Campbell of Cawdor, a leader of the Campbell clan who took control of the Scottish island of Islay—famed for its Scotch whiskies—in 1615. The find was made during excavations at Dunyvaig Castle, the site of combat between the Campbell and MacDonald clans, who were engaged in a violent struggle over Scotland’s islands in the early seventeenth century. “This is a remarkable find," says project director Steven Mithen of Islay Heritage and the University of Reading. "Not only is it a beautiful and well-preserved object, but it comes from the floor of a building that we can now confidently date to the Campbell occupation." The object would have been used to sign and seal legal documents and bears the inscription "IOANNIS CAMPBELL DE CALDER" (an original spelling of Cawdor), as well as the Cawdor coat of arms. Researchers speculate that the seal may have been lost in 1646, when a MacDonald descendent reclaimed the castle. To read more about the archaeology of seventeenth-century Scotland, go to "After the Battle."

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