Sites of the 3rd millennium BC to the 1st millennium AD at North Mains, Strathallan, Perthshire
Barrow, Cemetery, ring-ditch, burial, timber ring, food vessel, urn, beaker
North Mains; Strathallan; Perthshire; Scotland; UK
Three sites were excavated: a class II henge, a massive round barrow and a pair of ring-ditches.
Five periods of activity were noted on the henge site: I - pre henge-bank activity, including one burial; II - the class II henge, a ditch with an external bank enclosing a timber ring (late third millennium BC); III - burial and ritual/domestic activity, the former associated with food vessels, cinerary urns and a beaker, the latter with beaker material (second millennium BC); IV - in situ cremation and burial (late second/early first millennium BC); V-long grave cemetery (mid/late first millennium AD). A second timber ring, three burials and a number of pits could not be securely related to this sequence. One of the Period III food vessels had contained a cereal-based material.
The barrow covered a substantial area of old land surface (Period II) exhibiting probable cultivation traces which in turn sealed small pits (Period I). The construction of the barrow (Period III) was undertaken in six phases, which include a complex timber substructure (A), a ring-bank (B), a fire set near the top of the mound (D) and a stone capping (F). The mound was largely built of material dug from a surrounding ditch, though large quantities of field-stone and turf were also used. The mound has been dated to the early/mid second millennium be. Phosphate concentrations suggest that the barrow had covered burials. Two food vessel sherds were incorporated into the lower mound material. A spindle whorl was found in the upper part of the mound. Multiple and single cremation deposits and two inhumations, both with food vessels, one with a disc-bead jet necklace, had been dug into the mound's surface or had been incorporated during its building. A large cupmarked slab was found at the barrow's summit.
The two ring-ditches may have enclosed low barrows. A pit containing cremated bone and 'Western
Neolithic' pottery dated to the early/mid third millennium BC was cut by ring-ditch 2.