Whithorn is famous as the site of the earliest Christian settlement in Scotland, with evidence of Christian practice dating to the early 5th Century. However, research is increasingly turning to the context for the arrival of Christianity and the sophisticated Iron Age culture which preceded it.
Recent excavation has revealed an important settlement of roundhouses dating to approximately the mid 5th Century BC at nearby Black Loch of Myrton; the boggy site has preserved the timbers and gives some of the best evidence for Iron Age construction anywhere in Scotland.
The Whithorn Trust site now includes a replica Iron Age roundhouse, under construction in 2016, with many of the features of the recently discovered roundhouses, including impressive oak doorway and multiple hearths with massive hearthstone. The Visitor Centre also includes internationally important Early Christian stones and parts of the mediaeval cathedral.
The Whithorn Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee, with charitable status, and includes staff and volunteers, who give guided tours to visitors of the reconstruction, the ruined Priory and explanations of the exhibition of artefacts from the Christian era. The plans include craft workshops demonstrating many aspects of Iron Age and Early Mediaeval life. An app guiding the visitor through the ages of the site will be on offer from 2017.
The Whithorn Trust is supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Sainsbury's Family Charitable Trust. The Trust cooperates with Historic Environment Scotland in the management of the Priory Museum of Early Christian stones and of the Priory ruins and crypts.