Moray Coast

First Field Event

On 4th of May, the newly formed archaeological group met for the first time in Cullen. There were 10 of us, including Michael as guide. We went down to the beach, and Michael explained that there was something missing, namely 1.6 million tons of rock. The reason the cliffs don't come up to the shoreline like they did 2,000 years ago, is that the Romans arrived overland about 80 AD. They found the cliffs were full of iron ore.They built 3 forts in the area, 1 on either side of Portknockie, and 1 in what is now the grounds of Cullen House. These forts had impressive defences, so we can assume the natives weren't friendly. 2 ramps were built going up the cliffs in opposite directions. These would have provided access to the forts. Smelting the iron ore to extract the iron was done on the spot, where the golf-course is now. The iron would then have been transported by sea, and there were 2 large harbours built(now under the present seabed). A lighthouse was built on a hill near the viaduct.

Everyone was fascinated by the tour, and we went to a coffee shop to discuss it. Michael got out a map of Roman Britain, and was able to show not only that the Romans came as far as Moray, but also the exact route they took overland, including the major battle of Mons Graupius, where the Romans defeated the Caledonians, or Picti(painted ones) as they called them, because they painted their bodies with Woad, a light blue dye. Next month is about the Romans, criminals and lions.

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