Archaeologists in 2001 were all set to begin
excavations which, it was hoped, would uncover a seven hundred
year-old fortress which had been built to keep control of Scotland
when faced with opposition by William Wallace and Robert the
Historic Scotland teams were due to start work
in the grounds of Linlithgow Palace in mid-December 2001. They
were hoping to find the remains of the fort that had been built
by Edward I in 1302, which was destroyed by Robert the Bruce
following his success at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
The fort was the scene of Scotland's own 'Trojan
Horse' incident, when a small number of Scots - inspired by Bruce
- leapt out from a cart of hay and slaughtered the English
Nick Bridgeland of Historic Scotland was hoping
that the dig in the park surrounding the palace would uncover
artefacts and timber fortifications which had been built by the
English monarch. 'We know that Edward I built a massive
fortification at Linlithgow in 1302 in the midst of the Scottish
Wars of Independence.
'It was a huge mound, making full use of the natural
geology of the site, and cutting a giant ditch between himself and
the town to protect him from attack. It was seen as a good place
from which to control Scotland. It was simple military tactics'.
Any visible ruins of the fortress were destroyed by
James I, who rebuilt the existing Linlithgow Palace after it was
destroyed by fire in 1424.
Some 1,000 square metres of land was due to be
scoured in an effort to find evidence of the fort. The area was
believed to have been inhabited since the pre-Roman period, and
the site of the fifteenth century palace existed as a manor from
the twelfth century.
Bridgeland went further in his hopes by mentioning
the possibility of turning up evidence of a glue factory which was
demolished in the nineteenth century. The first aim of the excavation
was to identify the scope of what is underneath the ground.
The dig was due to be completed by March 2002, when
more specific excavations would take place to build on the initial