A mass grave of leading Jacobites killed after the Battle of Culloden may have been found.
Sixteen officers of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army were shot by government forces after they were discovered hiding in the dungeon at Culloden House near Inverness.
They were then buried by the “Bargas Tree” in the grounds of the house, which is now a hotel, with a grassy mound and a commemorative 5ft stone now marking the spot.
Now, a geophysical survey has shown three pits beneath the mound with archaeologists believing they may have found a war grave.
The results were shared with A Circle of Gentlemen, a secret Jacobite society, ahead of the 272nd anniversary of the Battle of Culloden today (April 16th).
Robert Cairns, chairman of the Lochaber Archaeological Society, which commissioned the research, said: “We are very excited about the results.
“The mound has three distinctive pits in it so obviously it is quite significant.
“It is not something that you would normally find in the mound. We are planning to put in a small trench later in the year to see if there are any human remains in the largest pit.
“We are confident we will find human remains. Then it will become a war grave.”
A number of items believed to relate to the battle were found during a metal detector survey of the grounds of the property.
Culloden House, the home of Duncan Forbes, the Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, at the time of Culloden, was requisitioned by Bonnie Prince Charlie ahead of the battle and turned into his headquarters.
A collection of mid-18th century halfpennies, pistol and musket balls, an iron buckle or clasp, military shirt buttons, a set of 18th or 19th century ploughshares, a 10cm ornamental brass base and part of a sword blade, have been found.
David McGovern, 45, a member of A Circle of Gentlemen, said: “It looks like we have found the martyrs’ graves.
“History has always said they were buried there but now modern science seems to have confirmed it.”