Meldon Bridge: a centre of the third millennium BC in Peeblesshire
Jet Pendant Slug Knife, Cremation Burials, Gravel Pits, Cropmark, Timber Wall, Stakes, Pits, Enclosure, Cist, Burial, Forts, Cremation Cemetery, Posts, Walls, Radiocarbon Dates, Timber Structures, Occupation Sites, Promontory Forts, Timber Avenue, Cremations, Cemeteries, cropmarks, pottery
Peeblesshire; Scottish Borders; Scotland; UK
Mesolithic, Neolithic, Roman
Rescue excavations on an extensive cropmark site at the confluence of the Lyne Water and Meldon Burn in the 1970s revealed several episodes of activity. A limited Mesolithic presence is indicated by the stone finds, but more intensive use is attested from the early/mid fourth millennium BC. Widely scattered groups of pits contained Impressed Ware of the local style. Radiocarbon dates chart this activity down to the early/mid third millennium BC, when a massive timber wall, 600 m long and up to 4 m in height, was constructed to shut off the 8 ha promontory between the Lyne Water and Meldon Burn. A timber avenue led into the enclosure on the north-west; standing posts and stones and settings of posts and stakes were erected; and cremation burials took place in the interior. No cultural material can certainly be associated with this phase and it probably lasted a century or less. A large stockade within the main enclosure could not be dated with certainty. A disturbed cist burial, yielding a jet pendant, 'slug' knife and possible Food Vessel sherds, may have been interred as one of
the final acts in this phase. Renewed activity came in the mid/late second millennium BC, when the site was used for an extensive cremation cemetery. This involved erecting rows of posts, some standing in pits containing cremations. There was also a burial in a rough cist, and two cremations deposited in Cordoned Urns. There is no evidence for further activity until the Roman period when the road from Newstead to Castledykes was driven through the site, disturbing some of the prehistoric features. There were Roman forts just to the west at Easter Happrew and Lyne, and large temporary camps at Meldon Bridge itself. One of these partly overlay the prehistoric site, and appeared to have been constructed after the road. Long afterwards an 18th-century turnpike road was laid down on top of the old Roman road. At least some of the gravel pits found on both sides of the road were dug in this phase.