Archaeologists have spent more than a few years
investigating the site of a Pictish monastery in Easter Ross in
Scotland in 2007. The monastery was thought to have been founded
by St Columba in AD 565. In 2007, the archaeologists discovered
that the monastery had been built on top of a prehistoric cemetery
showing, perhaps, a continuity of use for the burial site.
The revelation of the discovery followed the
excavation of three fifth century graves by a team of experts
from York University, who had been working at Portmahomack on the
Tarbat Peninsula since 1994.
Professor Martin Carver, who was leading the dig,
said in July 2007 that these were the first burial sites they
had found around St Colman's Church, which now stands on the
site of the monastery. The discoveries shone new light on why
the monastery site was chosen.
Carver said there were Bronze Age and Iron Age
burials all along the coast of the Tarbat Peninsula, many of them
encountered years ago by builders.
He described the three new examples of early graves,
which came to light during the Tarbat dig, giving their sizes as
1.98m long (six feet, six inches) and over 99.1m deep (three feet,
One had large slabs of sandstone on all four sides
of the skeleton, and a roof of slabs over the top.
A new exhibition of the Portmahomack archaeological
discoveries which was funded by Highland 2007, opened shortly before
this report was issued, at the Tarbat Discovery Centre.
The general excavation site in Portmahomack on the Tarbat
Peninsula, with St Coleman's Church in the background, top