E-monograph Series. No. 30


Excavations at Aberdeen's Carmelite Friary, 1980-1994

Alison Cameron1, Judith A. Stones2 and Chris Croly3

with Amanda Cardy, Juliet Cross, Margaret Bruce, Torben Bjarke Ballin, Catherine Smith, Sheila Hamilton-Dyer, C. Pamela Graves, Jody Morris, Susanne Atkin, Allan Hall, Harry Kenward, John Carrott, Stewart Thain and N.H. Trewin

Illustrations by Jan Dunbar, Clare Yarrington, Tracey Caldwell
Photographs by Richard White, Helen McPherson, Eleanor Hutcheon, Lynn Duncan, Eleanor Barton, Ilya de Vries

1. Cameron Archaeology Ltd, 45 View Terrace, Aberdeen, AB25 2RS cameronarch@btinternet.com
2. Aberdeen City Council Archaeologist (retired)
3. Public Engagement with Research Unit, University Office, King's College, University of Aberdeen AB24 3FX

Cite this as: Cameron, A., Stones, J.A. and Croly, C.P. et al. 2019 Excavations at Aberdeen's Carmelite Friary, 1980-1994, Internet Archaeology 52. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.52.1


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.

3D fly-through model of the Carmelite Friary, Aberdeen. The model was commissioned by the authors and created in 2002 by PinkZeppelin. The model is based on excavation and historical research and is dated to the period c.1450. The video has no sound.

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 Aberdeen has one of the best collections of historical documents in Scotland and there are over 300 surviving documents or book entries about the Carmelite friars of Aberdeen which have been used to aid interpretation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.

Go to article Table of Contents.


HES logo       Strathmartine Trust logo       Hunter Archaeological and Historical Trust logo