Researchers have solved one of the Scottish Highland's oldest mysteries: how an ancient fort was burned at such high temperatures that parts of it melted and fused together.
Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, built in around 500 BC, has long been the source of conspiracy theories, with some claiming that Iron Age people used an ancient superweapon to melt the stones.
A number of experiments were carried out over multiple years trying to discover how temperatures were hot enough to fuse stones together in a process called vitrification.
A number of experiments were carried out over multiple years trying to discover how temperatures were hot enough to fuse stones together in a process called vitrification
Now, archaeologists from Forest Enterprise Scotland and researchers from Stirling University believe a timber superstructure supported by the ramparts was set on fire, with the blaze burning down on the stones and heating them up 'like an oven', Matt Ritchie, an archaeologist with Forestry Enterprise Scotland, told the Scotsman.
Writer and broadcaster Arthur C Clarke had previously said the vitrified forts around the country were the biggest mystery he had encountered, even speculating that the Iron Age people would have needed lasers to melt the stones.
Ritchie told the publication said tests had shown blocks of molten stone were formed in spaces without oxygen and likely caused by a 'tremendous heat from above'.
He also added that the structure may once have stored grain.
Stones at Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, built in 500 BC, were