Images of the excavation site at Brora

The site of the New Salt House (1767-1777)

The site of the New Salt House (1767-1777)

In 1767, John Williams and Messrs Robertson and Co of Portsoy re-established a salt works on the Back Beach in Brora.

John Kirk’s 1772 ‘Plan of Part of the Estate of Sutherland’ shows the existing salt works complex of four roofed buildings and ‘An Intended Waggon Road’. At the shoreline, the largest structure is annotated as 'Salt Pans’. An unroofed building annotated as ‘Ruins of Salt mans House’ depicted on John Farey’s 1813 ‘Mineral Map of the Coal field at and near Brora in the County of Sutherland’ also belongs to the New Salt House, but must have been built after Kirk’s survey of 1772.

Prior to our archaeological investigations, the location and extent of survival of the remains of the New Salt House was entirely unknown. Bit by bit, the results of excavations carried out in 2007, 2008 2009 and 2010, together with geophysical survey and geo-referencing of the map evidence have enabled us to identify buildings and features depicted on Kirk and Farey’s maps. Finds from each season of excavation were examined by specialists so we can say something about the possessions and lifestyle of the workers of the saltpans.       

Use the links above to find out more about John William’s New Salt House.

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