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Archaeological Investigations for the A9 Dualling, Scotland

archaeological investigations A9 Scotland. Ruthven Barracks

Early site assessment supported the planning of this major road scheme.

AB Heritage was commissioned by CH2M Hill Fairhurst JV, on behalf of Transport Scotland, to undertake archaeological investigations along the A9 between Glen Garry and Dalraddy in the Highlands. Our work was carried out as part of the road’s Dualling Programme between Perth and Inverness. It focused on the central section, comprising a corridor 150m wide and 47km long, running through  Cairngorms National Park and some of the most stunning countryside in the world

Identifying unknown sites of archaeological interest

AB Heritage designed the archaeological investigations including a scheme of Field Walking where our archaeologists (specialised in Scottish upland archaeology) systematically walked the entire length of our designated section of the A9, logging all known and previously unrecorded buildings, earthworks and potential sites of archaeological interest, and a programme of supporting geophysics. The scheme had to allow for potential junction works and bridges, so flexibility was built in from the outset.

The Walkover Surveys produced new accurate GPS data for existing heritage assets, such as Ruthven Barracks and General Wade’s military road. Our skilled team also identified evidence for new shielings and other heritage features indigenous to the area.

Geophysical survey in winter

Geophysics used to help plan road options

After the Walkover Surveys, AB Heritage provided detailed Geophysical Surveys of two key monuments, close to the River Spey and the small town of Kingussie. These were Raitt’s Cave (a Souterrain or below ground structure a bit like a house) and the area surrounding the Balavil Obelisk, in Lynchat. These surveys, alongside the Walkover Surveys, provided valuable information on potential cultural heritage risks that helped inform the DMRB Stage 2 route options selection process

archaeological walkover survey

Reducing project risk

Dualling the A9 will deliver economic growth through improvements to road safety, journey times and through better links for all users. Works will also provide greater access to the many tourism and recreation sites along its route.

Overall the works undertaken by AB Heritage have helped Transport Scotland and CFJV identify and understand potential risks to the diverse and valuable local heritage resource and archaeology in the Central Section, whilst also providing detailed information to inform the next stage of design development and Environmental Impact Assessment.

The final completion date for the dualling and improvement works is 2025.



  • Top: Ruthven Barracks
  • Middle Right: Undertaking a Geophysics Survey in the snow
  • Middle Right:: Recording Earthworks
  • Bottom: Raitt’s Cave Souterrain
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