Three major seasons of archaeological excavation were completed at Castle Hill, Dundonald, Ayrshire) between 1986 and 1988, in the course of a programme of conservation work carried out by Historic Scotland. The archaeological work revealed six periods of occupation, beginning with fortifications dating to the transition from later prehistory to the Early Historic period through to a series of increasingly complex castles built by the Stewarts. The discoveries indicate that Dundonald was a major power centre within the Kingdom of Strathclyde and suggest that it was a royal castle from Early Historic times. Subsequently, when the site came into the possession of the Stewarts in the twelfth-century, a motte-and-bailey castle with a timber hall was constructed. This was succeeded in the thirteenth century by an elaborate castle of enclosure with opposing twin-towered gatehouses. It saw significant military action, refortification and destruction during the Wars of Independence. This castle was in turn replaced by the late 14th-century castle of King Robert II, with its massive tower-house and enclosure wall or barmkin.
List of Figures
1: Site Location and Topography
2: Historical Background - The Late Iron Age and Early Historic Period, Stephen Driscoll and Katherine Forsyth - The Coming of the Stewarts
3: The Excavations, Excavation Strategy - Period 1: Settlement c.1500-c.500BC - Period 2a: The Iron Age Fort, c.500BC-c.AD1000 -Period 2b: The Fort in the Early Historic Period, c.600-c.1000 - Period 3: c.1000-c.1241 - Period 4: c.1241-c.1300 - Period 5: c.1300-c.1371 - Period 6: c.1371-c.1488/9 - Period 7: c.1488/9-c.1588/9 - Summary of Main Phases of Occupation - 4: Artefact Assemblage - Ceramics, David Caldwell and Ewan Campbell - Coins, David Caldwell - Metalwork, David Caldwell - Bone Objects, David Caldwell - Worked Stone, Fraser Hunter - Inscribed and Engraved Slates, David Caldwell - Glasswork, David Caldwell - Clay Pipes, Dennis Gallagher
5: Scientific Studies - Animal Bones, Jennifer Thoms - Plant Remains, Tim Holden - Thermoluminescence Dating, David Sanderson
6: Discussion and Interpretation