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Bannockburn’s earliest visitors revealed

17 May 2012

Traces of a very early visitor to the Bannockburn area have been discovered during archaeological work in preparation for a new battlefield visitor centre.

Charcoal has been discovered after an exploratory dig and has been dated to the late Neolithic period.

Head of archaeological services at the National Trust for Scotland, Derek Alexander, explains that some burnt hazel was found during trial excavations on the present car park.

He said: “We had hoped that the find might give us a link to a medieval settlement but instead we have evidence of something much older.”

The samples have been carbon dated and are now thought to be from a period between 2900 and 2600 BC.

A larger trench, some 20 by 15 metres, was then dug to see what else might be buried in this area, but no other significant finds were made. Burnt oak, birch and hazel have been brought out of the pit but there is nothing that indicates a major settlement and the area has now been refilled.

Derek adds that the archaeological study is not finished on the site, saying:

“We will continue to monitor work, especially when demolition work begins this autumn, and when the car park is stripped of tarmac. Staff will be on hand in case something of significance is revealed.”

The project to create a new state of the art visitor centre is a joint project with Historic Scotland, and will open in 2014, the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Generously supported by the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the new facility will provide an unrivalled visitor experience making use of the latest technology to bring visitors face to face with medieval battle, and telling the story of this complex battle as accurately as possible.

Notes for editors

  1. The Battle of Bannockburn Project is a joint venture by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, to provide a new visitor centre and experience for one of the most significant battles in Scotland’s history for the 700th anniversary in the 2014.

  2. The new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre will use state of the art installations to  interpret and explain the circumstances that led up to this pivotal event in our history and its consequences.  The Scottish Government has committed £5 million, through Historic Scotland, and £4.1 million has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  3. The design team include:
    •Concept and Design – Bright White
    •Architectural Team – Reiach and Hall with Sinclair Knight Merz (Engineer), Turner and Townsend (QS) and KJ Tait (M&E Engineers)
    •Landscape Architects – Ian White Associates
    •3D Research, Development and Realisation - Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV)

  4. 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.

  5. The National Trust for Scotland is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities, which relies on the financial support of its members to fund its important work of caring for the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland for everyone to enjoy.

  6. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.   To date it has invested £536 million in Scotland’s heritage

  7. Register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email

  8. The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at:

  9. The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at

                                                      Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information

Lesley Brown
Historic Scotland
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096

Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr
National Trust Scotland
Communications Manager
0844 493 2483 or 07713 786277
Shiona Mackay
Heritage Lottery Fund
01786 870638 or 07779 142890