John Harrison found references to morys – or moors – in the “Bread Book”, a record of who received loaves from the royal kitchens in 1549.
The book may be the first clear record of Africans at Stirling Castle’s Royal Palace, Mr Harrison said.
The research is part of Historic Scotland’s £12m restoration of the palace to its mid-16th Century heyday.
The Bread Book dates from when the palace was the main residence of Scotland’s queen mother, and future regent, Mary de Guise, the mother of Mary Queen of Scots.
Mr Harrison believes the “morys” were probably either black Africans or Arabs originating from north Africa.
He said the book provided a “fascinating glimpse” into the diversity of the royal court at Stirling.