Portstown/Osprey Heights

About This Project

As a result of a sustained focus on recruitment, training and retention, we have strength in depth across the business. This means that the necessary resources are in place to rapidly deploy or scale-up our services on time-critical projects, setting us apart from smaller rivals.

Project Summary

Headland was approached by the developers of a major housebuilding project in Inverurie to pick up responsibility for the archaeological mitigation when their initial contractor became overstretched by the volume of archaeology on the site.

Recognising the potential impact to the development programme, we took up the challenge immediately, proposing a first phase of fieldwork comprising strip/map/sample. This involved monitoring the topsoil strip of an area totalling 15, 000m2, followed by mapping of the features by digital survey and excavating a sample to establish depths. This was of real benefit in enabling us to quickly characterise the site and the number of features present, prior to submitting an overall  site plan and costs for subsequent excavation. The process provided the client with the necessary data to ascertain for themselves that they were getting value for money.

Project Details

The topsoil strip revealed extensive archaeological remains associated with settlement at the location that spanned 4,000 years, requiring a significant programme of excavation.

The quick turn-around of costs with the client, as well as agreement of the methodology with the LPA, meant the main excavation could be progressed at the earliest opportunity. The ability to redirect resources and relocate personnel between our national network of offices also meant that we were able to fully resource the project and meet the clients’ timetable.

Several round-houses were identified with stone walling still intact, along with subterranean storage chambers. A cemetery was also located nearby; among the features excavated was a unique multi-tiered cremation pit.

Dealing with unknowns and variables is something we do every day and so robust systems are in place to prevent impact on project deliverables. In this case, effective communication across the whole team and daily monitoring of work rates identified early on the need to adjust and redistribute personnel across areas of the site to maximise efficiency. This resulted in the clients` deadline being met without an increase to agreed budgets.

Our quality of work and continuous engagement with the LPA archaeologist ensured the planning condition was met and our clients could initiate development groundworks almost as soon as we left site.


Inverurie, Aberdeenshire


Property (Residential)


Barratt North Scotland / Malcolm Allen Housebuilders Ltd

Contract Value

£110K to date


Strip, Map & Record / Mitigation Excavation / Publication

Location: Scotland, Sector: Property, Service: Evaluation, Service: Excavation, Service: Publication
cemetery, excavation, round house, strip map & record