Mysterious Iron Age tunnel explored


The so-called cellars, underground structures in the Scottish highlands, are still a mystery to scientists. Archaeologists have now explored one of the mysterious Iron Age tunnels using laser technology. The collected data should help the researchers to unravel the secret of these buildings.

One of these Iron Age subterranean structures, the Cracknie Souterrain in Borgies Forest in northern Scotland, has recently been closely examined and mapped using 3D laser scanning. A laser fires 10,000 times per second at the walls of the tunnel, generating a detailed 3D map of the 13-meter-long and about 150-centimeter-high tunnel, which ends in a brick chamber.

Created interactive map of the tunnel
The 3D laser scans have been used to create an interactive map of the Cracknie basement, which is considered one of the best preserved of its kind, said Graeme Cavers of the AOC Archeology Group, who surveyed the tunnel. The map allows archaeologists to get a closer look at the structure without ever setting foot in the damp tunnel.

Basements are still a mystery today
More than 500 such cellars have been found so far across the Scottish Highlands. They remain a mystery to this day. The buildings may have been used as a warehouse, place of worship or prison for slaves and hostages.

“Perhaps the cellars were used for storage, such as grain in sealed jars or dairy products such as cheese,” says Matt Ritchie, a local archaeologist. They may also have “served ceremonial purposes,” such as a medieval shrine or private chapel, the researcher says.

Source: Krone


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