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Excavators Return to 18th-Century Pub Site in Scottish Highlands

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Scotland WIlkhouse PubBRORA, SCOTLAND—According to a report in The Scotsman, a team of researchers under the direction of archaeologist Warren Bailie of GUARD Archaeology have returned to the site of the Wilkhouse, an eighteenth-century public house in the Scottish Highlands that served farmers who were walking with their livestock to market. Coins uncovered at the site suggest the drove road that passed the pub had been in use since the late sixteenth century. Bailie said the pub’s double chimneys, slate roof, and lime-washed walls reflected the “modernity and affluence” that had been growing in the region in the mid-seventeenth century, since drovers’ inns were usually drystone structures with wooden shutters, low walls, central hearths, and thatched roofs. The excavation revealed the remains of meals of rabbit, birds, fish, and whelks, and shards of drinking glasses. An inverted cross found on a hearth stone may have been intended to keep witches from flying down the chimney, Bailie added. The pub fell out of use by 1819, however, due to the Highland Clearances, in which landowners evicted their tenants in order to enclose their fields for more profitable large-scale sheep herding. To read more about archaeology in Scotland, go to "Lost and Found (Again)."

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