A prehistoric cremation burial at Duns Law Farm, near Duns, Scottish Borders
Pit, Human remains, pottery sherd, axehead, beaker
Duns Law Fort; Duns; Berwickshire; Scotland; UK
A large prehistoric pit was uncovered during a watching brief on a water main installation. The pit was partially stone-lined and two small scoops were identified at the base. These contained one complete and one partial Beaker vessel. The fills of the pit produced a small quantity of cremated human bone which represented a minimum of four individuals (three adults and a juvenile). Also mixed into the fills were sherds of other Beaker vessels, a few lithics, a stone axehead, and fragments of Neolithic pottery. Radiocarbon determinations produced early Neolithic dates for four samples of human bone and a grain of wheat, and one human bone sample produced a Bronze Age date later than the generally accepted currency of Beaker pottery production in Scotland. Interpretation of this strange collection of material is discussed with reference to Neolithic and Bronze Age burial practices; the evidence for the use of this pit in the Neolithic for cremation burial is a rare find and provides a valuable contribution to our understanding of this period and type of monument.
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