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Issue 52. Excavations at Aberdeen's Carmelite Friary, 1980-1994



This is a report on two excavations at the Carmelite friary in an area of Aberdeen called the Green. The 1980-1 excavation revealed the south-west corner of the church and the south end of what was probably the west range of the friary. The 1994 excavations uncovered the north-west corner of the church, most of what is probably the west range, a probable east wall of the church, part of the graveyard and traces of the south and/or east range. Finds included 201 burials (one of which had a copper alloy bracelet on the left wrist), window glass and leading, floor and roof tiles as well as a selection of personal items including book fittings, pins and a bone die. The friary was supplied with running water through a lead pipe and copper alloy taps from at least the late 13th century.The excavations in this area have allowed a fuller interpretation of the Carmelite friary and its setting. As a result it has now been possible to ‘reconstruct’ the friary and put it into its medieval setting in the Green. Aberdeen has one of the best collections of historical documents in Scotland and there are over 300 surviving documents or book entries about the Carmelite friars of Aberdeen which have been used to aid interpretation alongside the archaeological evidence. The Aberdeen Carmelite church remains buried under the car park. A plaque was erected by the developers near the site and the outline of the church has been marked out on the car park which now covers the building.



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