Statues above the Prince's Walk
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Level ii major publications

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To access the Level II minor publications, click here.

Analysis of the animal bone from the ladies lookout

by jennifer thoms

Excavations on the 'Ladies' Lookout' at Stirling Castle Palace produced a large assemblage of animal bones in relatively good condition. Because sizeable assemblages of bone from Upper Square (Thoms 2002b) and Chapel Royal (Thoms 2002a), also at Stirling Castle, had been analysed previously it was decided that only a sample of bone from these more recent excavations need be examined. Furthermore, many of the deposits excavated from Ladies' Lookout appeared to be redeposited material used to shore up ground surfaces in preparation for […]

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Analysis of the clay tobacco pipe fragments

By dennis gallagher

This report considers 4386 fragments of clay tobacco pipe fragments from 173 excavated contexts. The general quality of the pipes is very poor. Few Scottish examples are stamped. Few pipes can be dated to the period 1640-60. One (context 18007) is comparable in form to those from a pre-1637 context, sealed by the construction of the Tron Kirk, Edinburgh (Gallagher 1987a, 270). A number of slightly larger bowls may be dated to the period 1635-40 and represent the next typological development of the bowl form. There are few early bowls. One (21006) can be […]

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The archival resources

by dennis gallagher & john harrison

Interest in Stirling Castle as a historic monument of national importance increased during the course of the nineteenth century. The detached Stirling heads were published in 1817. A new awareness of the architecture was stimulated when Billings published his Baronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland in 1845-52. Access to Stirling Castle remained very limited under the army occupation but, nevertheless, interest increased. In 1848 it was reckoned that in summer the number of visitors in summer could be reckoned in hundreds. The highlight of any visit was […]

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Asbestos removal in stirling castle palace

by tom whalley

In early 2004, during the removal of the floorboards of the Queen’s Bedchamber in the Palace at Stirling Castle, the under floor area was found to be contaminated with asbestos that had been used as an insulating material on the heating pipes.  Further investigation found asbestos in other under floor areas of the Principal level of the Palace.  In order to continue the renovation of the Palace it was essential that these areas should be decontaminated.  This discovery made the original intention to conduct a systematic archaeological excavation of these areas […]

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Aspects of timber in post-renaissance sotland

By thorsten hanke

The Palace Block at Stirling Castle is undoubtedly one of the architectural masterpieces in Britain. Located adjacent to James IV’s Great Hall (c.1501) and James VI’s Chapel Royal (1594), it contributes to an ensemble of outstanding architectural value, displaying some of the most impressive details of Scottish pre-modern architecture. Within the compound of Stirling Castle, the Palace constitutes the most prominent element and it must be considered as one of the earliest examples of Renaissance architecture in Britain. The construction of Stirling Palace began during the reign of James V of Scotland as one of his principal seats. It comprised the lodgings and staterooms which were used by the king himself and by […]

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Construction of the ceilings in the royal bed chambers

By thorsten hanke

Stirling Castle is much older than Stirling Palace. While the earliest architectural features belonging to the castle complex date back to the early Middle Ages, Stirling Palace is a comparatively young building. Incorporated by James V into the dense fabric that had evolved during the previous 400 years at the castle rock, the making of the Palace first required the creation of a suitable building site within the outer walls of the existing fortification. Stirling Palace should thus be regarded a reworking of extant fabric rather than a building devised entirely from scratch. Available archaeological evidence clearly suggests that […]

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Dendrochronological analysis of the oak and pine timbers

by anne crone

Dendrochronological analysis of 133 oak timbers and 58 pine timbers from Stirling Castle has identified six distinct episodes of building activity. The bulk of the data relates to building activity throughout the 16th Century but building episodes in the 17th and 18th centuries are also identified. The builders probably maintained a stockpile of old timber for recycling and in these re-used timbers can be detected the ghosts of earlier buildings for which we no longer have any material evidence. A small amount of native-grown oak is used in the earliest episodes but […]

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Dook methodology and typology: a summary outline

by tom whalley

Hundreds of dooks and dook holes were revealed within the elevations of the principal level rooms in the Palace when the paint and plaster surfaces were removed from the walls. The dooks and dook holes are important because they represent a series of interior finishes and/or fixtures that were secured to the walls by a variety of fixtures such as metal nails, pins, bolts or screws which in turn required wooden pegs or plugs wedged into holes in the masonry to […]

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Excavation of the ladies' lookout

by dave murray

The results of these excavations have brought to light evidence of how the Palace of James V inherited certain key structures and spaces, which were refined in the mid-16th Century Palace layout. In addition, there is new evidence to suggest that the West Range was subsequently remodelled in the late-16th Century and 1620s, before its conversion to military use in the […]

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Finds report

by julie franklin

The large assemblage includes the first prehistoric finds found at Stirling Castle, and a range of medieval to modern material. The 17th Century midden layers are particularly rich in finds. There are also deposits of 13th and 14th Century midden and pockets of 16th Century midden as well as dumps of modern material, though upper layers are particularly disturbed by a profusion of Victorian and later service trenches. The most unusual find is an in situ fragment of a brick floor of probable early 16th Century date associated with […]

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Floor & ceiling timbers report

by dave murray & andy hollinrake

Type A beams c.1540? Massive (up to 300x300mm). Laid N-S every 1-1.2m, 0-100mm below current floor. Range divided by stone partition wall between U08 and U09, which may well have extended N across what is now corridor U03 (original access between E and W sides possibly what is now cupboard U08.2.029/U09.4?). Same joists continue on both sides of wall. Nails visible on underside of joists possibly where […]

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The nature of the evidence

by gordon ewart

This project was organised on behalf of Historic Scotland in advance of and alongside extensive restoration works on the palace block at Stirling Castle. As part of an ongoing programme of remedial works on the major buildings within the castle the opportunity to record and investigate the monument more thoroughly and extensively than had ever been done before arose. In conjunction with specialist teams concerned with details of the interiors, the conditionof the monument from plasterwork to timber, to craftsmen involved in wood carving and […]

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The stirling heads reports

by the Historic Scotland Conservation Centre

The 'Stirling Heads' are a series of oak-carved circular panels depicting many of James V's courtiers along with gods and heroes from Classical antiquity. Probably dating from the 1540s, they are perhaps the supreme example of renaissance iconography in Scotland. This series of reports, available to download in a single, self-extracting compressed archive, details the extensive conservation work that has been undertaken on the 38 surviving carvings. N.B. Currently 35 of the 38 reports are available in the download. Report numbers 12, 17, and 37 will be made available when complete.

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Vessel glass report

by dennis gallagher

A few fragments can be classed as elite glass reflecting the life of the palace rather than the garrison. Included in these is the fragment of a beaker with pushed-up base (14046). This form of vessel was the ubiquitous glass drinking vessel in England during the period c.1550-1650 (Wilmott 2002, 45). In Scotland, comparable fragments have been recovered from Spynie Palace (Murdoch 2002, 138) and Fast castle, Berwickshire (Murdoch 2001, 82, illus 38.10). The strap handle, possibly from a jug or tankard, also falls into this class of […]

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The wardrobe inventories of James V

by john harrison

The British Library manuscript BL Royal 18 C comprises a series of lists made at dates from 17 December 1542 to 26 February 1543; the chronology is outlined below and is certainly worth further analysis. The list made on 1 and 2 February 1543, is generally similar to the list made on 28 November 1542 and published by Thomson (1815, 76-99) though the descriptions and the ordering of the subsections and individual items vary and there are substantial discrepancies, with numbers of items vanishing from the earlier list and others appearing for the fist time in the later. Some of the discrepancies are probably due to […]

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Want all the Level II major reports?

The entire suite of Level II publications (excluding the Stirling Heads reports), including plans of the castle and palace, can be downloaded in a single, self-extracting compressed archive using the link below.

Download size: 26.5 MB

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