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Excavation at Kirk of St Nicholas

Latest update: December 2008

Between January and December 2006, a team of archaeologists led by Aberdeen City Council's Archaeology Unit carried out a major excavation at Aberdeen’s historic Kirk of St Nicholas. It was the most extensive and productive excavation to have taken place within a Scottish medieval parish church in modern times.

The archaeological dig was brought about by the need to reinforce the foundations of the Mither Kirk for a new development. That exciting project aims to create a new community facility right in the heart of the City, making the most of this exceptional and historic building.

The church’s present structure on Union Street dates mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, but it incorporates portions of a 12th-century church and stands on the site of the 15th-century building, which was one of the largest and most prestigious burgh churches in Scotland. Walls and floors of a succession of medieval church structures were uncovered by the archaeologists, along with a large number of burials (ranging in date from 18th century to 12th century and perhaps earlier) and a remarkable collection of small and large portable ‘finds’.

The initial 'post-excavation' process is now complete.  Large numbers of objects are still undergoing conservation, while specialist examination of the 924 human skeletons found during the dig is almost finished - see March update report.

The excavation and post-excavation work is funded by the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting.

You can visit the Church website at or read the site diary.

Initial Report:

An illustrated initial summary of the excavation results and associated historical research is available at the Kirk of St Nicholas, price 2.50. Copies can also be bought at Provost Skene's House and Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

You can also download a copy of this report by clicking on the links below: