Probable Iron Age Settlement found!

The clear-up of a Highland rock festival has led to Roman and Scots medieval coins being discovered.

Eric Soane, a metal detector locating left-behind tent pegs after the 2012 Belladrum Festival, chanced on some coins which were sent to the Museum of Scotland for identification and assessment for treasure trove.

The rest were dug up during a subsequent National Museum of Scotland dig at the site led by Dr Fraser Hunter in October last year.

“Left-behind tent pegs can be dangerous to stock and can damage machinery. We like to get rid of as many as possible. But it was an unexpected bonus to find the coins,” said festival promoter Joe Gibbs.

On July 16th, the hoard goes on permanent display in the Archaeology Gallery of Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

The 36 Roman coins comprise 36 denarii, the latest coins of mid-second century date, and mark the first Roman coin hoard to have been discovered in the Beauly Firth area.

A suspected iron age settlement also appeared during the dig, which took place in the general camping area.

“Heavy Metal isn’t generally a genre we go in for at Belladrum, but perhaps we should revise that as clearly there is a precedent, albeit 2000 years ago,” said Mr Gibbs

Any funds received from the treasure trove are being donated back to the National Museum of Scotland to facilitate further digs on the site.

Archaeologists from University of Highlands and Islands, a sponsor of the event, will be talking about the finds.

Cait McCullagh, the Inverness Museum’s assistant curator and archaeologist, is hosting a presentation at the museum on Thursday July 18th from 6pm to 7.30pm to explain the importance of the hoard.

A spokesman for High Life Highland, which runs the museum, said: “Cait will present on the significance of the coin hoard for our local Iron Age story, proposing how the Belladrum Hoard along with a growing body of evidence for interaction between Highland tribes and the Empire, gives us an insight into prehistoric politics and Iron Age-elites’ likings for exotic bling!

“As the Highlands makes ready for the 10th anniversary of the Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum, this could be the perfect ‘fringe’ event for all those who are interested in learning how the Beauly Firth has been at the heart of Highland culture for at least 2000 years.”

The UK’s northern-most major festival, and Scotland’s main family festival, Bella, as it is known to its fans, has sold out its 15,800 capacity in advance in record time, over six weeks before the event.

Manchester indie legends James and Glasgow rock prodigies Twin Atlantic have been booked to headline along with an exciting and wide-ranging list of other acts including: The Straits - former members of Dire Straits; the British band Noisettes; bluesman Seasick Steve; stellar garage rockers The Horrors and Bella favourites Alabama 3; King Charles and Scots indie artists Admiral Fallow among many more.

The 2013 theme is ‘Carnival’, in keeping with the birthday party atmosphere the milestone event is bound to create.

Belladrum 2013 takes place in the beautiful Highland surroundings of Belladrum Estate, near Beauly in Inverness-shire, on August 2nd and 3rd.

The independent festival has built a reputation for its eclectic line-ups, its offbeat non-musical entertainments and its all-ages approach.

The festival won a VisitScotland Thistle Award in 2009 and is a past winner of the Grassroots Festival Award at the UK Festival Awards, the festival industry’s ‘oscars’.