Unique Iron Age site could be Machars tourist mecca

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A significant archaeological discovery could bring tourist sflocking to the South Machars, members of Wigtown Area Committee heard at their meeting on Wednesday.

The excavation of an Iron Age site at the Black Loch of Myrton near Monreith will begin in March 2015 and the entire project, costing £87,000, will receive £5000 from the area committee.

The work to turn the site into both a visitor attraction and an educational project is being led by The Whithorn Trust and funded by The Holywood Trust to the tune of £38,000. Whithorn Trust has also applied to Historic Scotland for £25,000 funding and for £16,750 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Trust itself will put up £2,400.

The Black Loch of Myrton find has been described as being of “national importance” and the only site of its kind within Scotland. Video cameras will be used to stream the excavation work live and monitors will be set up at The Whithorn Trust base for people to watch the action. Local school children will take on the role of ‘reporters’ at the scene.

Primary schools in the South Machars will be advised by experts in Iron Age farming how to plant seeds using antlers as tools and it is hoped they will then harvest and mill the grain and finally bake with the flour they produce.

It is critical to begin the excavation as soon as possible as the site is now deteriorating after drainage. The excavation is expected to take 12 months to complete.

Council officer Wendy Jesson said the project would not provide employment but has “huge potential to bring a lot of visitors into the area by 2016.”