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Visitors to one of the regions most iconic castle to find out more about what lies beneath

1 October 2013

Visitors to Tantallon Castle are able to find out more about what lies beneath this month.

Archaeologists from Historic Scotland and Kirkdale Archaeology are currently on site, along with a team of local volunteers from the Friends of North Berwick Museum, and are excavating a series of trenches within the castle's courtyard and on its outer works.

The trenches are being dug in response to the findings of a geophysical survey commissioned earlier this year which revealed a number of geophysical 'anomalies' - possible archaeological remains such as floors, walls, ditches, pits etc.

It is hoped that the trenches will reveal buried structural evidence for occupation and defensive works dating to the known use of the castle and possibly much earlier, and how the castle adapted in response to the development of artillery.

The outcome of the findings will be used as part of Historic Scotland's interpretation plan for the castle which helps tell the castle’s story to visitors.

The team will be on site until the 11th October. Visitors to the castle are welcome to view the archaeologists in action throughout the day. Guided tours of the dig will also take place daily at 11am and 3pm.

Richard Strachan, Senior Archaeologist for Historic Scotland said;

“The castle was home to the Red Douglases’, one of Scotland’s most prominent and powerful baronial families.

“It endured three great sieges, in 1491, 1528 and 1651, the latter by Oliver Cromwell’s army which brought great devastation.

“There has been very little formal excavation at Tantallon Castle so this is a hugely exciting opportunity to investigate the geophysical results and hopefully add to the story of this iconic site.”

The castle is open throughout the year (winter hours 9.30am to 4.30pm). Access to the dig and the tours is included as part of admission to the castle. For further information visit the Historic Scotland website

Notes to editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.


  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at www.visitscotland.com/natural

Follow Historic Scotland:
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Year of Natural Scotland: http://yearofnatural.historic-scotland.gov.uk

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For further information


Iona Matheson
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8703 or 07827 956 858
iona.matheson@scotland.gsi.gov.uk