Aberdeen City HER - NJ90NW0278 - THE GREEN, ABERDEEN

Print site NJ90NW0278 Feedback on site NJ90NW0278

Main Details

Primary ReferenceNJ90NW0278
NRHE Card No.NJ90NW49
NRHE Numlink 20171
Site Form Documentary Record Only
Site Condition Destroyed
Details Excavation carried out in 1994 by Aberdeen City Council Archaeological Unit revealed evidence of prehistoric, early medieval ploughing and medieval date, including the 13th-16th century Carmelite (Whitefriars) friary (NJ90NW0006). The earliest evidence from this site was in the form of ditches dating to the late prehistoric period. Plough marks indicate that prior to the construction of the Carmelite friary on the site the area was cultivated. The earliest constructions of the friary include wooden buildings, represented in the archaeological record by large post-holes, with smaller stake- holes indicating partitions within buildings, and fences. The construction of the stone church was probably started in the late 13th century. Two chamfered sandstone buttress bases and the mouldings of a doorway in the north wall survived as they were below ground level when the building was demolished West range South-west of the church, a long stone building 24m long and 7m wide may have been the remains of the west range of the cloister. It was divided into four rooms, one of which was probably a kitchen with a fireplace and drain. The building was dated to the 15th century by a coin found in a wall foundation. Two slightly later coins were found in the demolition rubble, which contained hundreds of painted and stained window glass fragments and lead window cames. Adjacent to, and earlier, than this building were post holes suggesting that the stone building had superseded a wooden one. Three burials and an oven or kiln were also associated with the wooden building. This oven may have been for baking bread. The remains of at least three water pipes were found at the site. The lead pipe, encased in clay, survived in one example. It had been laid through the church walls, under the floor of the church and along the side of the west range. In the demolition rubble was a well-preserved bronze spigot or tap, which was probably used in the friars' quarters. This all adds to the picture of a well-developed plumbing system, the earliest known in Aberdeen. A total of 212 burials, which took place between the late 13th and late 16th century, were excavated. The skeletons varied in age from premature babies to old aged adults and included 64 adults and 22 immature individuals. A quarter of the population did not reach adulthood and of those two thirds died before the age of 6 years. There were roughly equal numbers of males and females. The males were on average 171 cm (5'7'') tall and the females were 155 cm (5'1'') tall. Most of the skeletons were orientated in the usual Christian position, with head to west and feet to east. One north of the church and one inside the church were the wrong way round (head to east), possibly because the body was obscured by a coffin or shroud. One adult was buried to the south of the church with the head to the north. It is not known why this was. Green stains on the bones were common, caused by copper alloy pins used to secure shrouds, or other copper alloy objects in the vicinity of the body during its decay. Many skeletons were associated with lines of iron nails indicating that they had been buried in a coffin, although little of the wood survived. East of the church, in the area thought to be the graveyard for the friary, wood was better preserved than inside the church. Several coffins were found but unfortunately the wood was not well enough preserved to lift. There was a line of small children's burials along the interior of the north wall of the church. Reburial of several skeletons had taken place in the foundation trench of a 19th-century cellar wall.
Last Update20/06/2018
Updated Bycherbert
Date of Compilation13/09/2017

Easting: 394090.521, Northing: 806056.195

Google Map for NJ90NW0278

National Grid Reference: NJ 9409 0605

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
1994 Excavation

Excavations and Surveys

Artefact and Ecofact


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability