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12 Mar 2019

Uncovering the story of Glencoe

Neil Oliver stands beside Derek Alexander, the Trust's Head of Archaeology, as they both look down the glen at Glencoe. Derek holds some papers under his arm and is pointing ahead of him.
We’re carrying out ground-breaking archaeology to find out more about one of Scotland’s most significant historic events.

Synonymous with the massacre of 1692, Glencoe is probably the most famous glen in Scotland. But following the introduction of sheep farming in the 19th century, the location of the late 17th- and 18th-century settlements have been forgotten and lost.

This project will investigate the remains of these lost settlements so they can be appreciated for the central role that they played in the story of this incredible landscape.

On the earliest detailed map of Glencoe – a military survey undertaken by General William Roy between 1747–55 – the major settlements or clachans are clearly marked, showing small clusters of between 6 and 11 buildings at each of the named locations.

Of the seven named settlements shown on the map, three fall into the area owned by the National Trust for Scotland: Inverigan, Achnacon and Achtriochtan. As these are further from the mouth of the river and the focus of the current village, we believe there is potential that some of the early structures may have survived.

Over the last few years, the Trust’s Archaeology Team have undertaken some detailed mapping/survey work at these three settlement sites, coupled with excavation and historical research.

We now plan to undertake further and more detailed excavation and survey work with volunteers at all three sites. Using the ground plan of the excavated site of one of the byre-dwellings at Achtriochtan, we’ll also build a life-size, replica dwelling which will be situated near the Glencoe Visitor Centre. This will allow visitors to experience first-hand a building from one of the lost settlements of the massacre.

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