Exciting excavations have started on and Iron Age site near Monreith, revealing a wonderfully preserved round house dating from roughly 450BC.
Whithorn Trust spokesperson Julia Muir Watt said: “The state of preservation of the timbers of the roundhouse are unprecedented in prehistoric archaeology - usually they are preserved merely as discoloured patches, but here they are massive timbers.
“We are looking at a complete re-writing really of the early history of Whithorn and indeed southern Scotland.
“We think there is a very different history to the way Christianity came to southern Scotland. We originally thought that Ninian came to an empty area where he founded a church and now we think there was a strong native community, potentially a high status secular site where Christianity came because people converted.
“And so we’re very interested in finding out about the peoples who lived here long before the Christian period.”
A report from AOC Archaeology Groups states: “One of the roundhouses excavated revealed massive stone hearth at its centre, stakebuilt walls and a floor structure. There was distinct spatial organisation within the house, defined by varying floor structures and coverings, as well as movable screens. Very few artefacts were found but two are significant; a tiny fragment of pottery and an iron ploughshare, a very rare survival in Iron Age Scotland.”
One of the leading archaeologists on the dig is Kirkcudbright-born Graeme Cavers.