Dark Ages fort built by mysterious ‘painted people’ found in Scotland

A fort that is more than 1,000 years old, dating back to the time of Alfred the Great, has been unearthed in Scotland, more than 200 years after it was thought to have been completely destroyed.

The ancient fort was built by the Picts, a loose confederation of tribes who lived in what is now Scotland during the Dark Ages. The fort was likely a major source of power for the Pictish kingdom between A.D. 500 and 1000. In the 1800s, a town was built over the ancient stronghold, known as Burghead Fort, and most archaeologists thought the last remaining traces of the fort were destroyed at that time.

However, new archaeological excavations are revealing major structures hidden beneath the town, including a rare coin that dates to the period of English king Alfred the Great. [Photos: The Search for Alfred the Great’s Grave]

“Beneath the 19th century debris, we have started to find significant Pictish remains,” Gordon Noble, head of archaeology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, said in a statement. “We appear to have found a Pictish longhouse. This is important because Burghead is likely to have been one of the key royal centers of Northern Pictland.”

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