Donald Adamson

Dreaming in black and white

MLitt Dissertation

A Coal Mine in the Sea: Culross and the Moat Pit


The article reconsiders the archaeology of the sixteenth-century Moat Pit mining
complex at Culross and offers new interpretations of that archaeology. It places
the coal mine in a wider context, suggesting a pivotal role in the development of
the burgh.

The study emphasises the innovative nature of Sir George Bruce’s coal mining.
The archaeologies of salt and iron working in Culross are considered along
with their symbiotic relationships with coal. These industries gave impetus to
the development of commerce in Culross, with its much altered, and now sadly
neglected, pier at its heart. A comparison between the houses of George Bruce
and his brother Edward highlights changing attitudes in Scottish society after the
Union of the Crowns in 1603.

The Moat Pit is also used as a case study to consider issues arising between
industrial and urban archaeology in Scotland. It explores the impact of this debate
upon the site’s current unprotected and arguably undervalued status.

The 2008 University of Glasgow MLitt dissertation became an article in the Scottish Archaeological Journal (Vol 30, 1-2, 161-199). The article can be found at the bottom of the page on Sir George Bruce within the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame, or directly at  VISIT

The Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame page on Sir George Bruce can be found at

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