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Prehistoric communities of the River Dee: Mesolithic and other lithic scatter sites of central Deeside, AberdeenshireVol 97 (2021)Prehistoric communities of the River Dee:
Mesolithic and other lithic scatter sites of central Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Author: Caroline Wickham-Jones
Contributors: Richard Bates, Alison Cameron, Ann Clarke, Diane Collinson, Sheila Duthie, Tim Kinnaird, Gordon Noble, Irvine Ross, Heather Sabnis and Richard Tipping
Summary: This volume presents the results of archaeological fieldwork undertaken along the River Dee, Aberdeenshire, north-east Scotland, by the Mesolithic Deeside voluntary community archaeology group between 2017 and 2019. A total of 42 fields were investigated, from which over 11,000 lithics were recovered, representing at least 15 archaeological sites and a span of human activity covering some 10,000 years from around 12,000 BC to c 2000 BC. Finds from the Late Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age were present. Work comprised fieldwalking, test pitting, specialist analysis, and small-scale excavation. The investigation described here is significant not just for the light it throws on the early prehistoric populations along the River Dee but also for the methodology by which investigation was undertaken, as this provides a potential model for work in other areas. Both aspects are covered in the report.
The River Dee flows between postglacial gravel and sand terraces, the structure of which has played an important role for the early settlers of the area, and this is covered in some detail in order to provide the physical background framework for the sites. There are also sections on more specialised geophysical and geoscience techniques where these were undertaken, together with a summary of research on the palaeoenvironmental conditions throughout the millennia of prehistory. The artefactual evidence comprises lithic assemblages which were all catalogued as fieldwork progressed; the contents of each site are presented, together with more detailed analysis of the finds from test pitted sites. Finally, given the rich archaeological record from the area, the results of the present project are set into the wider context of the evidence for prehistoric settlement along the river, and there is consideration of future directions for further fieldwork.
While all authors have contributed to the whole volume, individual sections that present specialist work by specific teams have been attributed. The distribution maps and GIS are the work of Irvine Ross.
Dates given are calibrated BC dates. The Nethermills Farm NM4 dates are calibrated using the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit calibration program OxCal 4 (Bronk Ramsey 2009) and their date ranges are calibrated using the IntCal13 atmospheric calibration curve (Reimer et al 2013). Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) was used to profile sediment accumulations on some of the sites and obtain information relating to site formation, but it was not used for dating in any of the projects.
Locations: Middle reaches of the River Dee, Mid Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Periods: Late Upper Palaeolithic, Bronze Age
Keywords: Late Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Lithic Scatter site, fieldwalking, stone tool, Community Archaeology
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.
‘A home by the sea’: The excavation of a robust Mesolithic house of the late 9th millennium BC at East Barns, East LothianVol 96 (2021)
‘A home by the sea’: The excavation of a robust Mesolithic house of the late 9th millennium BC at East Barns, East Lothian
Authors: Rob Engl and John Gooder
Contributors: Clare Ellis, Randolph Donahue and Adrian Evans
Illustrators: Graeme Carruthers and Gemma Hudson
Summary: In 2001 excavation works undertaken in advance of quarrying at East Barns, East Lothian, revealed the substantial remains of a robust Mesolithic house structure, securely dated to the late 9th millennium BC. The house was situated within a large, natural hollow whose gradual infilling had effectively sealed the archaeological deposits. The house consisted of a sub-circular sunken floor with the remains of a westfacing entrance and two concentric angled post rings, suggesting episodes of replacement if not actual rebuilding. The remains of interior furniture were also recorded in the form of post holes, a platform, and three probable hearth features. A charred deposit of occupation debris rich in lithics sealed many of the structural features around the internal perimeter of the house. The distribution of this deposit appeared to reflect informal refuse toss/drop zones formed during the occupation of the structure and suggests some form of internal spatial organisation.
The house at East Barns joins an increasing group of substantial analogous sites related to Early Mesolithic activity in Scotland and northern England. These substantial house sites reflect increasing socio-economic, cultural and chronological complexity during the Mesolithic. As such the site allows provisional hypotheses to be formed about the scale and nature of Early Mesolithic social and economic adaptation around the North Sea Basin.
Locations: East Barns, Dunbar, East Lothian
Periods: Mesolithic; late 9th Millennium
Keywords: House structures; Lithics; social & economic adaptation
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.
Bronze Age and Iron Age Archaeology at Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire: An Investigation of Structures and Funerary PracticesVol 95 (2021)
Bronze Age and Iron Age Archaeology at Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire: An Investigation of Structures and Funerary Practices
Authors: Sue McGalliard and Donald Wilson
Contributors: Laura Bailey, H E M Cool, Gemma Cruickshanks, Fraser Hunter, Colin Wallace and Michael Wallace
Illustrators: Julia Bastek-Michalska, Eleanor Winter and Rafael Maya Torcelly
Summary: Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd was commissioned by Axiom Project Services to undertake an archaeological excavation in advance of a commercial development at Thainstone Business Park, Aberdeenshire. Excavation identified the remains of a Middle Bronze Age roundhouse and a contemporary urned cremation cemetery. Evidence of Late Bronze Age cremation practices was also identified. A large roundhouse and souterrain dominated the site in the 1st or 2nd century ad. Material culture associated with the Iron Age structures suggested a degree of status to the occupation there.
Location: Inverurie, Aberdeenshire
Periods: Middle Bronze Age, Middle Iron Age
Keywords: Souterrain, Roundhouse, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Cremation, Urn, Settlement, Structure, Cemetery
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.
The Calanais Fields Project: Excavation of a Prehistoric Sub-Peat Field System at Calanais, Isle of Lewis, 1999–2000Vol 94 (2021)
The Calanais Fields Project: Excavation of a Prehistoric Sub-Peat Field System at Calanais, Isle of Lewis, 1999–2000
Authors: Melanie Johnson, Catherine Flitcroft and Lucy Verrill
Contributors: Mhairi Hastie, Anthony Newton, Adrian Tams and Graeme Warren
Summary: Excavations at Calanais, Isle of Lewis in 1999 and 2000, through the University of Edinburgh, revealed fragments of a prehistoric field system buried beneath blanket peat. Stone structures including buildings, walls, clearance cairns and heaps and cobbled surfaces were identified and excavated. Environmental analyses indicate that these features, associated with a buried soil, represent prehistoric farming activity, and radiocarbon determinations indicate that they are likely to be no later than Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age in origin. This excavation is important as it is one of very few recent prehistoric excavations in the Hebrides on the blacklands instead of machair, in addition to showing evidence for an agricultural landscape in close proximity to a major ritual monument (Calanais Standing Stones).
Location: Calanais, Isle of Lewis, Western Isles
Period: Late Bronze Age
Keywords: Sub-peat, Late Bronze Age, pollen, field system
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.
Excavations in a prehistoric landscape at Blackford, Perth & Kinross, 2007–8Vol 93 (2021)
Excavations in a prehistoric landscape at Blackford, Perth & Kinross, 2007–8
Authors: Chris O’Connell and Sue Anderson
Contributors: Ann Clarke, Michael Cressey, Clare Ellis, Mhairi Hastie, Fraser Hunter,
Melanie Johnson, Dawn McLaren, Graeme Carruthers, Karen Clarke, Shelly Werner and Leeanne Whitelaw
Summary: The extensive remains of enclosed and unenclosed prehistoric settlements, including the remains of at least 14 circular structures, were discovered within ten areas of archaeological interest, situated on well-drained knolls in an undulating landscape north of Blackford village. The settlements have been dated principally to the Middle and Late Bronze Age, although continued habitation can be traced through to the Early Iron Age. Most of the structures were probably roundhouses, and were likely to have been the foci of domestic and economic life across generations. The remains ranged from single isolated structures to groups of closely spaced structures. Some were enclosed by palisades, possibly for defence, others were not. Diachronic changes in architecture are readily identifiable. The community made their living from a mixed farming economy, with some craft production also undertaken. Evidence for funerary rites was rare, but what little there was suggests that the dead were cremated and buried in urns.
Location: Blackford, Perth & Kinross
Periods: Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age
Keywords: Roundhouse, Palisade, Enclosed settlement, Unenclosed settlement
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence.
Doune Roman fort, Stirlingshire: excavations in 1999, 2008 and 2010Vol 92 (2020)
Doune Roman fort, Stirlingshire: excavations in 1999, 2008 and 2010
Author: Candy Hatherley
Contributors: Jeremy Evans, Martin Goldberg, Kay F Hartley, Mhairi Hastie, Nicholas Holmes, Fraser Hunter, Julie Lochrie, Gwladys Monteil, Effie Photos-Jones, Scott Timpany, David F Williams, Steven H Willis
Summary: Three archaeological excavations were undertaken by Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd within the grounds of Doune Primary School in Stirlingshire, each located on the site of Doune Roman fort. These excavations revealed sections through triple-ditched defences, elements of the turf rampart and the perimeter road (via sagularis) on both the west and east sides of the fort. Within the interior of the fort the partial foundations of seven buildings were recovered, including barracks blocks, a corridored building that may represent a workshop (fabrica) and a stable-barracks to accommodate a cavalry squadron (turma). The everyday life of the fort was also revealed, with a series of ovens and an iron-smelting shaft furnace, a first for Roman Scotland. A range of pits were also identified, including some which are likely to be related to the demolition of the fort as it was decommissioned. Artefacts confirm that the fort was built and occupied during the Flavian occupation of Scotland between AD 80 and 86–7.
Location: Doune Primary School, Doune, Stirlingshire
Period: Roman, Flavian
Keywords: Denarii, Barracks, Metal-working furnace, Ovens, Fort
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence.
The Excavation of Neolithic Pits and a Bronze Age Burial Site at Ness Gap, FortroseVol 91 (2020)
The Excavation of Neolithic Pits and a Bronze Age Burial Site at Ness Gap, Fortrose
Author(s): Nuala C Woodley, Julie Lochrie, Alison Sheridan, Trevor Cowie, Claire Christie
Contributors: Julie Franklin, Laura Bailey, Tim Holden, David Henderson, Suzanne McGalliard
Summary: An investigation by Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd took place in early 2013 in advance of a housing development at Ness Gap, Fortrose, Highland. The excavation revealed domestic activity dating from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. A cluster of Neolithic pits provided insights into the development of agriculture in the area, with evidence for cereal production and the gathering of wild resources. The use of the site changed in the Bronze Age, with the landscape utilised for funerary practices, which were represented by stone cists and cremation burials, both urned and unurned. Analysis has further informed on the burial practices of the Bronze Age and added to our understanding of a unique peninsular landscape rich in prehistoric activity.
Location: Ness Gap, Fortrose
Finding the Blackfriars: Excavations at Old High School, Infirmary Street, EdinburghVol 90 (2020)
Finding the Blackfriars: Excavations at Old High School, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh
Author(s): Donald Wilson, Julie Franklin, David Henderson, Peter Ryder and Richard Fawcett
Contributor(s): Julia Bastek-Michalska and Mano Kapazoglou
Summary: Redevelopment of the Old High School, Edinburgh, provided an opportunity to investigate the speculated location of a Dominican friary, known to have been founded in the early 13th century. The site was also the known location of the 16th-century Royal High School, a predecessor of the present Old High School building constructed in 1777.
The scope of the archaeological work included the excavation of a relatively small area to the front of the Old High School building. This area contained some of the most significant archaeological remains recently found in Edinburgh’s Old Town. These included an early medieval boundary ditch; the surviving remains of two walls, interpreted as being associated with the medieval Dominican friary church and 88 accompanying burials spread across three distinct areas. Six of these burials were radiocarbon dated, returning a range of dates between the 13th and 17th centuries, providing the first clear evidence of the existence of the friary in this location. The most significant of the burials was associated with a cross slab grave cover and located in an area interpreted as the claustral area of the friary. Both the cross slab and the associated burial were dated to the late 13th century.
Further stone wall foundations relating to the 16th-century Royal High School building were also identified within the excavation area. Several further features ranging from medieval stone-lined drains to 19th-century walls and culverts were recorded during further groundworks across the remainder of the site.
Period(s): Medieval; Early Modern
Excavations at Musselburgh Primary Health Care Centre: Iron Age and Roman discoveries to the north of Inveresk Roman Fort, East LothianVol 89 (2020)
Excavations at Musselburgh Primary Health Care Centre: Iron Age and Roman discoveries to the north of Inveresk Roman Fort, East Lothian
Author(s): Magnus Kirby
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson, Paul Bidwell, Ann Clarke, Hilary Cool, Mike Cressey, Alex Croom, Gemma Cruickshanks, Clare Ellis, Jane Evans, Darren R Gröcke, Kay Hartley, Eniko Hudak, Fraser Hunter, Melanie Johnson, Dawn McLaren, Janet Montgomery, Joanna Moore, Geoff Nowell, Vanessa Pashley, Alice Rose, Jennifer Thoms, Roger Tomlin, Felicity C Wild
Summary: An excavation was undertaken by CFA Archaeology Ltd (CFA) between August and November 2010 on the site of the new Musselburgh Primary Health Care Centre. The site, which lies to the south of Inveresk Road, is centred on NGR 33430 67224. Until its demolition, the area had been occupied by Brunton Wireworks. The Scheduled Monument of Inveresk Roman Fort lies at the top of the steep slope c 50m to the south of the excavation site. The excavation identified six phases of activity on the site, the earliest being a Mesolithic flint scatter (Clarke & Kirby forthcoming). The area was used as a burial ground in the Iron Age and a ring ditch may also be of prehistoric date. Later, six Roman inhumation burials (four of which had been decapitated) and a horse burial were interred, and a possible Roman fortlet was constructed. Across the site, a network of interconnected ditches formed part of a Roman-period field system, which cut through the rampart of the possible fortlet, and through a number of the graves. Along the southern boundary of the site a large accumulation of Roman midden deposits overlay features associated with the field system, although it may have started to build up while the latter was still in use. A post-built structure was also found, one post of which cut a ditch of the field system. The midden deposits extended along the full length of the southern boundary of the site, measuring 110m long by up to 20m wide. Numerous artefacts were recovered, representing the rubbish and discarded personal belongings of the fort occupants. The pottery included samian bowls with personal names scratched on the bases. Evidence from these, together with isotopic analysis of the human skeletons, shows that the ethnic origin of those living in the fort was diverse, as would be expected for the Roman army.
Keyword(s): field system, burial pits, pottery, iron, bones, midden deposits, rampart base
Location(s): Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Period(s): Iron Age, Roman
Chapel-sites on the Isle of Lewis: Results of the Lewis Coastal Chapel-sites SurveyVol 88 (2020)
Chapel-sites on the Isle of Lewis: Results of the Lewis Coastal Chapel-sites
Author(s): Rachel C Barrowman
Contributor(s): Charlotte Francoz, Janet Hooper, Christine Rennie, Gary Tompsett
Summary: The Lewis Coastal Chapel-sites Survey undertook research and fieldwork, the latter between 2004 and 2008, to explore and record the known chapel-sites on the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland. There is a scarcity of surviving contemporary historical documentation relating to Lewis in the medieval period, but archaeology has great potential to further investigate these fascinating and diverse sites. Research linked together previous antiquarian and local historical research, with walkover survey and description of each site on the ground. This was followed by targeted topographic and geophysical surveys of particular sites. At the end of the project it was possible to assess the cultural and research potential of this remarkable group of sites, and to identify gaps where further work was needed. More than 40 sites were identified and the remains recorded at each site were varied, some associated with old settlements, or traditionally linked with other chapel-sites nearby, others alone and isolated. The chapels themselves ranged from upstanding buildings still used for worship, to low grassy banks only just discernible beneath the turf or unlocated and kept alive only in oral tradition. This publication reports on the results of the survey work with a brief conclusion of the main findings.
Keyword(s): Isle of Lewis, chapel, church, early Christian, medieval, survey, Hebrides, Western Isles, Na h-Eileanan Siar
Location(s): Isle of Lewis, Western Isles, Scotland, UK
Period(s): early medieval, medieval, post-medieval
A Matter of Life and Death – Trade and Burial around St Giles’ Cathedral: Archaeological Investigations at Parliament House, EdinburghVol 87 (2019)
A Matter of Life and Death – Trade and Burial around St Giles’ Cathedral: Archaeological Investigations at Parliament House, Edinburgh
Author(s): Mike Roy
Contributor(s): R Cerón-Carrasco, A Craster, M Cross, N Crowley, J Evans, J Franklin, A Hall, D Hall, N Holmes, R Inglis, H Kenward, M Melikian, C Smith, C Thomas, J Thoms, L Thomson, S Timpany, R Toolis, P Walton Rogers
Summary: Archaeological evaluation of the Southern Courtyard of the Parliament House complex, to the south of St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh’s Old Town, has provided a valuable insight into the lives, health and mortality of the inhabitants of the late medieval city. The evaluation revealed a backland area in the centre of medieval Edinburgh, with deposits rich in artefactual and ecofactual material derived from the everyday lives of the populace, underlying early burghal surfaces. The presence of artefacts including a small leather assemblage and a seal matrix may indicate production and trading activities between the High Street and the Cowgate in the late medieval period. Above these surfaces, and underlying fragmentary evidence of the post-medieval Meal Market, numerous late medieval inhumations were recorded; these belonged to the southward expansion of St Giles’ graveyard. This report details the analysis of the skeletal remains, illuminating the health and demography of the population of the city from around the mid-15th to the early-to-mid-16th century.
Keyword(s): Burial ground, Cathedral, Seal matrix, Parliament House
Location(s): Parliament House; Edinburgh; United Kingdom
Period(s): Medieval, Post-medieval
‘Great fears of the sickness here in the City … God preserve us all …’ A Plague Burial Ground in Leith, 1645: an archaeological excavation at St Mary’s (Leith) RC Primary School, Leith Links, EdinburghVol 86 (2019)
‘Great fears of the sickness here in the City … God preserve us all …’ A Plague Burial Ground in Leith, 1645: an archaeological excavation at St Mary’s (Leith) RC Primary School, Leith Links, Edinburgh
Author(s): Megan Stoakley
Contributor(s): Richard Newman, Anne Crone, Lynne F Gardiner, Adrian Bailey, George Haggarty, Janet Montgomery, Mandy Jay, Geoff Nowell and Jo Peterkin
Summary: In 2016, Wardell Armstrong undertook an archaeological excavation at St Mary’s (Leith) RC Primary School, Edinburgh. The archaeological excavation revealed four phases of activity; Phases 1 and 2 comprised coffined and uncoffined human burials. The lack of infectious pathognomic skeletal lesions, the dating of the finds, the dendrochronological analysis of the coffin wood and technological data, along with the known historic land-use of the area, all indicate that the burial ground relates to the 1645 outbreak of plague in Leith. Dendrochronological analysis revealed a terminus post quem felling date of c 1640 for the coffin wood, while analysis of the coffins’ manufacture revealed hasty construction methods. Phase 3 comprised a series of waste disposal pits of 19th-century date. Phase 4 comprised levelling deposits, which were likely associated with the construction of the school and the demolition of the 19th-century smallpox hospital located to the north of the site. A total of 81 individuals were interred at the site. Adults represent 68.3% while non‐adults represent 31.7%. All age groups were present except neonates. Artefacts including keys, coins, sewing kits and combs were recovered. That the bodies were interred seemingly fully clothed and the corpses not rifled prior to burial strongly indicates a fear of the diseased corpse. The presence of everyday items on the bodies may also indicate a more sudden death outside the sick bed, possibly indicating the occurrence of septicaemic plague. Frequent occupation and attrition-related skeletal and dental pathologies indicate lives characterised by poverty and toil. Strontium analysis revealed that almost all individuals were local to Leith; several individuals had rosary or paternoster beads, indicating a likely Catholic affiliation, which would have been risky given that the pro-Presbyterian Covenant was signed in Leith in 1638. In contrast to older children, the younger children were interred in coffins, indicating differing views on the treatment of the body.
Keyword(s): Bubonic plague, 1645, Leith Links, catastrophic cemetery population, Covenant, beads
Location(s): St Mary's (RC) Primary School; 30 Links Gardens; Edinburgh EH6 7JG
Period(s): Mid-seventeenth century
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence
The changing face of industry in west EdinburghVol 85 (2019)
The changing face of industry in west Edinburgh
Author(s): Laura Bailey and Morag Cross
Summary: Excavations on a site at 19 West Tollcross, Edinburgh, produced evidence of activity in the area from the medieval period to the 20th century. The medieval remains are likely to relate to activity on the periphery of a settlement in the hinterland of Edinburgh, thus confirming the archaeological potential of settlements now subsumed under the modern city. Excavation through the deep stratigraphy, when supplemented with documentary evidence, offered a glimpse into evolution of the area from an ‘agricultural landscape’ to an ‘industrial’ area, constantly being transformed in line with contemporary technological innovations. More recent remains associated with Lochrin Distillery, slaughterhouses, Edinburgh Ice and Cold Storage Company’s unit, an ice rink and a garage were uncovered.
Keyword(s): Lochrin distillery, slaughterhouse, cold store, ice rink
Location(s): Lochrin Basin, 19 West Tollcross, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
Period(s): Twelfth to twentieth centuries
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence
Mesolithic and later activity at North Barr River, MorvernVol 84 (2019)
Mesolithic and later activity at North Barr River, Morvern
Author(s): Gavin MacGregor
Contributor(s): Alistair Beckett, Ann Clarke, Nyree Finlay, David Sneddon and Jennifer Miller
Summary: At North Barr River, Morvern, inspection of forestry planting mounds on a raised beach terrace identified a chipped stone assemblage associated with upcast deposits containing charcoal. An archaeological evaluation of the site, funded by Forestry Commission Scotland, sought to better understand the extent and character of this Mesolithic and later prehistoric lithic scatter. The lithic assemblage is predominantly debitage with some microliths and scrapers. The range of raw materials including flint, Rùm bloodstone and baked mudstone highlights wider regional networks. Other elements, including a barbed and tanged arrowhead, belong to later depositional episodes. Two mid-second millennium bc radiocarbon dates were obtained from soil associated with some lithics recovered from a mixed soil beneath colluvial deposits. The chronology of a putative stone bank or revetment is uncertain but the arrangement of stone may also date to the second millennium bc.
Keyword(s): Chipped stone assemblage, lithic scatter, flint assemblage, arrowhead, charcoal-burning platform, blade
Location(s): Barr River, Morvern, Argyll, Scotland, UK
Period(s): Mesolithic, later prehistoric
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence
Knappach Toll, Balbridie: a late 3rd-millennium bc Beaker burial on Deeside, AberdeenshireVol 83 (2019)
Knappach Toll, Balbridie: a late 3rd-millenium bc Beaker burial on Deeside, Aberdeenshire
Author(s): Olivia Lelong
Contributor(s): Iraia Arabaolaza, Torben Ballin, Jane Evans, Richard P Evershed, Susanna Kirk, Angela Lamb, Dawn McLaren, Neil Wilkin and Lucija Šoberl
Summary: A short cist discovered during ploughing at Knappach Toll on Balbridie Farm, Aberdeenshire held the remains of an adult accompanied by a Beaker, fragments of a copper awl and 11 struck flints. Little survived of the skeleton except for cranial fragments, but these indicate that the person had been placed with the head to the west, with the artefacts also at that end. While the sex of the person is indeterminate, with the single surviving sexual dimorphic trait suggesting a male, the position of the body and the presence of the awl are more usually indicative of a female. Radiocarbon dating shows that the person died between 3775±35 years bp (SUERC-30852) and 2330–2040 cal bc (95.4% probability). Stable isotope analysis indicates that he or she grew up on basalt geology, like that of the region, or on chalk. Residue analysis of the Beaker has established that it had held ruminant animal fat such as butter or milk, probably for some time, and some of the flint pieces had been lightly used. The composition and constituents of the burial suggest links between north-east Scotland and East Yorkshire. They also evoke the cultural practices that were spreading across eastern Britain in the later 3rd millennium bc through the mechanisms of cultural transmission and migration.
Keyword(s): Beaker, Bronze Age, Cist, Burial, Religious ritual, funerary, lithics
Location(s): Knappach Toll, Balbridie Farm, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
Period(s): Bronze Age
Excavation of a Double-Ditched Enclosure at Winchburgh, West LothianVol 82 (2019)
Excavation of a Double-Ditched Enclosure at Winchburgh, West Lothian
Author(s): Gary Savory
Contributor(s): Mike Cressey, Clare Ellis, Mhairi Hastie, Fraser Hunter and Jennifer Thoms
Illustrations by Graeme Carruthers
Summary: A sub-circular double-ditched enclosure, visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs, was excavated by CFA Archaeology Ltd in 2013. The enclosure had an inner ditch with two possible entrances and an intermittent outer ditch. The inner ditch measured up to 4.65m wide and survived to a maximum depth of 1.4m. Artefactual and ecofactual assemblages were limited, with the most significant finds being evidence of shale working. Soil micromorphological analysis indicates that both ditches silted up gradually, with their fills derived from re-deposited upcast as well as soil eroding from the surroundings. Radiocarbon dates from waterlogged wood and animal bone found within the ditch fills produced a date range of 1608–204 bc. The paucity of material makes it difficult to be certain of the date and function of the enclosure.
Keyword(s): Circular enclosure, ditch, jewellery, glass bead, animal remains
Location(s): Winchburgh, West Lothian, Scotland
Period(s): Bronze Age, Iron Age
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence.
Siller Holes, West Linton: a medieval lead mining siteVol 81 (2018)
Siller Holes, West Linton: a medieval lead mining site
Author(s): Valerie E. Dean
Contributor(s): Carol Christiansen, Thea Gabra-Sanders, Anita Quye, Clare Thomas and Maureen Young
Summary: Lead ore (galena) had been extracted from the site of Siller Holes, West Linton, from medieval times if not earlier; there, according to tradition, silver was refined from the lead (Pb). Creation of a pond at the foot of Lead Law produced large quantities of textiles, leather and pottery which could be dated to the 12th to 14th centuries; lead, slag and ore were also recovered. As there is no documented reference to the site until the late 16th century, it has not yet been established who was exploiting the minerals.
Keyword(s): organic material, inorganic material, textiles, pottery sherd
Location(s): Siller Holes, West Linton, Scotland, UK
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence.
The Society gratefully acknowledges funding towards the publication of SAIR 81 from The Hunter Archaeological & Historical Trust.
A Bronze Age barrow cemetery and a medieval enclosure at Orchardfield, East Linton, East LothianVol 80 (2018)
A Bronze Age barrow cemetery and a medieval enclosure at Orchardfield, East Linton, East Lothian
Author(s): Magnus Kirby
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson, Ann Clarke, Michael Cressey, Clare Ellis, Mhairi Hastie and Melanie Johnson
Illustrator(s): Graeme Carruthers and Shelly Werner
Summary: Three ring-ditches, interpreted as a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, and a large ditched enclosure of likely medieval date were excavated at East Linton in advance of residential development. Cremation burials
were recovered from all three of the ring-ditches, from their upper ditch fills and from a central pit in one of the ring-ditches. Also mixed into the fills were sherds of pottery, a few lithics, and two stone grinders/rubbers. A large pit close to one of the ring-ditches, which may have been used to dispose of the residue ash from one or more funeral pyres, was also excavated and provides an insight into the wider ritual activity taking place on or near the site. To the east of the barrow cemetery, a meandering length of ditch is considered to be medieval in date and probably forms an enclosure. Radiocarbon determinations produced Middle Bronze Age dates for samples of cremated human bone, with charred grain producing Iron Age and medieval dates.
Keyword(s): ring ditch, barrow cemetery, pottery sherd, lithic implement, stone polisher, organic material
Location(s): Orchardfield, East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
Period(s): Bronze Age, medieval
Permissions: Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives licence.
Volumes 60-79 Volumes 60-79
Excavations by Gogar Church, Nether Gogar, EdinburghVol 79 (2018)
Excavations by Gogar Church, Nether Gogar, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Beverley Ballin Smith, Donal Bateson, Dennis Gallagher, Richard Jones, Susan Ramsay, Catherine Smith
Summary: This report records the results of an excavation of a medieval settlement next to Gogar Church that was discovered within the construction corridor of the Edinburgh Tram line. The remains relate to the medieval village of Nether Gogar and date from the 11th to the 15th century, although later material was also recovered. The results of this work complement previous work on the site of Nether Gogar (Morrison et al 2009) and add to the growing evidence of medieval rural settlement in the Edinburgh area. The excavation was carried out by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD), while the post-excavation phase was undertaken by GUARD Archaeology Ltd on behalf of Edinburgh Tram Project for The City of Edinburgh Council.
Keyword(s): organic material, corn drying kiln, Churchyard, ditch, coin, jewellery, millstone (smoking), cobbled surface, cereal grain, church, animal tooth, cobbled road, pottery sherd, animal bones
The Excavation of a Medieval Burgh Ditch at East Market Street, Edinburgh: Around the TownVol 78 (2018)
The Excavation of a Medieval Burgh Ditch at East Market Street, Edinburgh: Around the Town
Contributor(s): Clare Thomas, Dawn McLaren, Jackaline Robertson, P Walton Rogers, Anne Crone, George Haggarty
Summary: In 2015 excavation works undertaken in preparation for a new hotel development at East Market Street, Edinburgh, encountered the remains of a substantial ditch feature likely relating to previously excavated ditches in the medieval burghs of Edinburgh and Canongate. A substantial stratified artefact assemblage including both animal bone and ceramics was recovered and the waterlogged deposits in the base of the ditch also offered the opportunity for macroplant analysis. These waterlogged deposits afforded the preservation of artefacts including a textile garment, the first of its kind in the British Isles, and leather shoe soles boasting slender waists and turned out, pointed toes. These finds were both attributed to the 14th to 15th centuries, contributing to a vivid picture of the inhabitants of Edinburgh and Canongate in the medieval period. Analysis of both the artefact and ecofact assemblage revealed two phases of use, from the construction of the ditch in the late 12th–13th century to its eventual disuse in the latter half of the 15th century.
Keyword(s): Footwear, Rim Sherd, Textile, Ditch, Burgh, Ceramic, Animal Bones, Organic Material
Location(s): Canongate, Edinburgh, Scotland, East Market Street, Cranston Street. NGR: 326242,673758
Neolithic and Bronze Age Occupation at Meadowend Farm, Clackmannanshire: Pots, Pits and RoundhousesVol 77 (2018)
Neolithic and Bronze Age Occupation at Meadowend Farm, Clackmannanshire: Pots, Pits and Roundhouses
Contributor(s): Scott Timpany, Lucy Cramp, Sarah-Jane Haston, Laura Bailey, Torben Bjarke Ballin, Julia Bastek-Michalsk, Thomas Small
Summary: The excavations at Meadowend Farm, Clackmannanshire produced evidence for occupation at various times between the Early Neolithic and the Middle to Late Bronze Age. Significantly, it yielded the largest and best-dated assemblage of Middle Neolithic Impressed Ware yet encountered in Scotland, comprising at least 206 vessels. Episodes of Early to (pre-Impressed Ware) Middle Neolithic activity were represented by pits and post holes scattered across the excavated areas, some containing pottery of the Carinated Bowl tradition and some with charred plant remains; three blades of pitchstone and one of non-local flint were also found. The phase of activity associated with the Middle Neolithic Impressed Ware pottery (c 3350‒3000 cal bc) is represented mostly by clusters of pits, some containing hearth waste and/or charcoal, charred cereal grain and burnt hazelnut shell fragments. A stone axehead and a broken roughout for an axe- or adze-head were associated with this phase of occupation. There then appears to have been a hiatus of activity of around a millennium before occupation resumed. One Early Bronze Age structure and pits dating to around 2000cal bc (plus undated pits containing possible Beaker pottery) were succeeded by four Early to Middle Bronze Age roundhouses dating to c 1750‒1300 cal bc and a large pit containing parts of at least 37 pots, and subsequently by two large double-ring roundhouses, an oval building, and ancillary structures and features dating to the Middle to Late Bronze Age, c 1300‒900 cal bc. There is also evidence suggesting low level activity during the Iron Age, plus two medieval corn-drying kilns. Environmental evidence indicates cereal growing from the earliest period, and local woodland management. This publication focuses on the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods and discusses the significance of this site for our understanding of these periods, and particularly for the Middle Neolithic, in Scotland.
Keyword(s): Roundhouse, Rim Sherd, Blade, Axehead, Bowl, Carinated Bowl, Pottery Sherd
Period(s): Early Bronze Age, Middle Neolithic, Early Neolithic, Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Neolithic
Location(s): Scotland, Kennet, Clackmannanshire, Meadowend Farm. NGR: 292800,690400
Barabhas Machair: Surveys of an Eroding SandscapeVol 76 (2018)
Barabhas Machair: Surveys of an Eroding Sandscape
Contributor(s): Alan Braby, Trevor Cowie, Rebecca Rennell, Mark Elliot, Torben Ballin, Beverley Ballin-Smith
Summary: The townships of Barabhas are on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides between the blanket bog of Barabhas Moor to the east, and machair and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Barabhas Machair (centre NB 351 513) has been eroding for at least a century, and of archaeological interest for nearly as long. Survey and excavations over the last 40 years have revealed settlements from the Early Bronze Age to the present day, in a landscape that has been used and reused. This paper is the first of a series presenting the results of this fieldwork, reporting on the results of the surveys and on the results of initial documentary research, and has been produced as part of a wider post-excavation project supported by Historic Environment Scotland.
Keyword(s): Lithic Scatter, Archaeological Landscape, Croft, Cemetery, Wall, Beaker
Period(s): Late Iron Age, Early Iron Age, Late Bronze Age, Post Medieval, Early Bronze Age
Location(s): Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Barabhas, Scotland, Barabhas Machair, Barabhas Iorach, Barabhas Uarach, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides. NGR: 135100,951300
Fluid identities, shifting sands: Early Bronze Age burials at Cnip Headland, Isle of LewisVol 75 (2018)
Fluid identities, shifting sands: Early Bronze Age burials at Cnip Headland, Isle of Lewis
Contributors: Derek Hamilton, Angela L Lamb, Dawn McLaren, Ingrid Shearer, Jane Evans, Brendan J Keely, Tom Booth, Maureen Kilpatrick, Susanna Kirk, Marion O'Neil, Alison Sheridan, Susan Ramsay
Illustrators: Ingrid Shearer and Marion O'Neil
Summary: Excavations in 2009 and 2010 on Cnip Headland, Isle of Lewis investigated three different burials in shallow pits and on a kerbed mound, containing the inhumed remains of at least nine individuals in both articulated and disarticulated states. Bone histology analysis indicates that the bodies of all but one (a stillborn infant) were allowed to decay and become partly or wholly skeletonised before being buried at this spot. Worn jet beads, a copper-alloy awl and pieces of boar tusk and marine ivory accompanied some of the remains. The burials lay around a cairn, which previous excavations have shown was built in the 3rd millennium bc and then rebuilt twice, with both cremated and unburnt human remains incorporated in it. Another inhumation burial in a stone-lined pit close to the cairn was excavated in the 1990s. Bayesian analysis indicates that the cairn’s first reconstruction and the placing of human remains around it took place over a period of up to 150 years between 1770 and 1620 bc. The headland’s long use for rites involving human remains illuminates relationships between living communities and their lineages in Early Bronze Age north-west Scotland. The work was carried out for Historic Environment Scotland under the Human Remains Call-off Contract.
Keywords: Burial Cairn, Animal Tooth, Burial, Awl, Bead
Period: Early Bronze Age
Locations: Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Kneep, Scotland, Cnip Headland, Outer Hebrides, Isle of Lewis, Lewis and Harris. NGR: 109980,936560
[Gaelic]Dearbh-aithne neo-sheasmhach, gainneamh ghluasadach: tiodhlacaidhean bho Tràth Linn an Umha air Rubha a’ Chnìp, Eilean Leòdhais
Ùghdar: Olivia Lelong
Le cuideachadh bho: Thomas Booth, Jane Evans, Derek Hamilton, B J Keely, Susanna Kirk, Maureen Kilpatrick, Angela Lamb, Dawn McLaren, Susan Ramsay agus Alison Sheridan
Dealbhan le: Ingrid Shearer agus Marion O'Neil
Geàrr-chunntas: A’ cladhach ann an 2009 agus 2010 air Rubha a’ Chnìp ann an Eilean Leòdhais, rinneadh sgrùdadh arc-eòlach air trì tiodhlacaidhean eadar-dhealaichte ann an slocan eu-domhain agus air tom cabhsaireach anns an robh iarmad daonna naoinear, cuid slàn agus cuid nam pìosan. Tha anailis hiosto-eòlach chnàimhean a’ comharrachadh gun deach leigeil le na cuirp aca seargadh gus an robh iad gu tur, no gu ìre, nan cnàimhichean, mus deach an tiodhlacadh air an làraich seo, ach a-mhàin aon neach (pàiste a bha marbh ga bhreith). Còmhla ri cuid den iarmad daonna bha grìogagan finiche ath-chaithte, brog de dh’ aloidh- copair agus pìosan de thosg tuirc agus ìbhri mara. Bha iad air an tiodhlacadh timcheall air càrn. Dhearbh cladhach a rinneadh na bu tràithe gun deach an càrn a thogail san treas linn BC agus gun deach ath-thogail dà thuras an dèidh sin, le iarmad daonna loisgte agus gun a bhith air a losgadh air a ghabhail a-steach ann. Chaidh tiodhlacadh eile ann an sloc a th’air a lìnigeadh le clachan a chladhach anns na 1990an. A rèir anailis Bayeseach tha e coltach gun deach a’ chiad ath-thogail a dhèanamh air a’ chàrn, le iarmad daonna ga chàradh ann, thairis air ùine suas ri 150 bliadhna, eadar 1770 agus 1620 BC. Tha gu robh an rubha air a chleachdadh thairis air iomadh bliadhna airson deas-ghnàthan co-cheangailte ri bàs a’ soilleireachadh càirdeasan eadar coimhearsnachdan beò agus an sinnsearachd ann an Tràth Linn an Umha ann an ceann an iar-thuath Alba. Chaidh an obair a dhèanamh dha Alba Aosmhor fo Chùmhnant Cladhach Èiginneach Iarmaid Daonna.
Excavations and Interventions in and around Cramond Roman Fort and Annexe, 1976 to 1990Vol 74 (2017)
Excavations and Interventions in and around Cramond Roman Fort and Annexe, 1976 to 1990
Contributor(s): Paul Bidwell, Hilary Cool, Alexandra Croom, Rob Engl, Kay Hartley, Nicholas Holmes, Fraser Hunter, Felicity Wild
Summary: Cramond Roman Fort has been the focus of archaeological interest since the publication of John Wood’s history of the parish in the late 18th century, with a floruit of activity in the latter half of the 20th century. Playing an important part in this volume of work have been the excavations led by the late Mr Charlie Hoy (d 1991), an Edinburgh amateur archaeologist working principally with the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society and latterly on his own. His excavations have recovered a wide range of evidence from the Mesolithic through the Roman and medieval periods up to the post-medieval development of Cramond House Estate. Hoy’s investigations have been hugely important to our understanding of the Roman fort’s associated annexe/extramural settlement, in particular providing new evidence for its origins in the Antonine period, and for Severan occupation, as well as uncovering a multi-phased road and associated wooden structures. In addition, the artefact assemblage further adds to the corpus from the site and includes an internationally significant sword pendant belonging to a beneficiarius (beneficiarii were troops on special service for the provincial governor) that demonstrates the presence of German troops at the fort, andperhaps hints at the presence of the emperor himself.
Keyword(s): Frontier Defence, Tower, Annexe, Samian, Amphora, Tile, Vessel, Coin
Period(s): Mesolithic, Medieval, Roman
Location(s): Cramond Roman Fort, Cramond Tower, Cramond House, Cramond, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, UK. NGR: 319032,676903
Achanduin Castle, Lismore, Argyll: an account of the excavations by Dennis Turner, 1970–5Vol 73 (2017)
Achanduin Castle, Lismore, Argyll: an account of the excavations by Dennis Turner, 1970–5
Contributor(s): D Bramwell, Geoffrey Collins, George Haggarty, Derek Hall, Nicholas Holmes, Andrew Jones, Barbara Noddle, Nigel Ruckley
Summary: Excavations were undertaken at Achanduin Castle, Lismore, Argyll (NGR: NM 8043 3927), over six seasons from 1970 to 1975 under the direction of the late Dennis John Turner (1932–2013), henceforward referred to as DJT. Partly funded by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and with tools and equipment loaned by RCAHMS (now Historic Environment Scotland), the work was carried out in support of the RCAHMS’s programme of survey in the Lorn district of Argyll. Its purpose was to examine an apparently little-altered but much-ruined example of a castle of enclosure ascribable to a small but identifiably distinct group of rectangular, or near rectangular, courtyard castles. DJT concluded that it was built c 1295–1310 by the MacDougalls, and only later passed to the bishops of Argyll. The authors add their own observations on the excavations in a separate section. They note tenuous evidence for a pre-castle phase. The bulk of the report focuses on the erection and occupation of the castle, followed by abandonment, post-medieval occupation, collapse/demolition and recent times.
Keyword(s): Castle, Pottery, Coin, Brooch, Knife, Buckle, Animal remains
Location(s): Achanduin Castle, Lismore, Lorn, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, UK. NGR: 183067,739852
Excavations to the West of Gogar Mains, EdinburghVol 72 (2017)
Excavations to the West of Gogar Mains, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): Susan Ramsay, Beverley Ballin-Smith, F Jackson, Gillian McSwan, Sarah Baille, Torben Ballin
Summary: This report records the results of the excavation of a multi-period site that was discovered within the construction corridor of the Edinburgh tram line. The site is located to the west of Gogar Mains and to the east of the Park and Ride car park by Edinburgh Airport. It was discovered during an archaeological evaluation in 2006 along the proposed tram route (Sneddon and Will 2006). Following this, an open area excavation uncovered a range of features and structures that date from the Neolithic and Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age and early medieval period. These features include a palisaded enclosure, two possible corn-drying kilns and a dense concentration of post-holes and pits (James 2008). The excavation was carried out by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD), while the postexcavation phase was undertaken by GUARD Archaeology Ltd on behalf of Edinburgh Tram Project for The City of Edinburgh Council. During the course of the tram construction programme a military pillbox next to the airport was recorded in advance of demolition (see Appendix).
Keyword(s): pit, corn drying kiln, post hole, palisaded enclosure
Period(s): Bronze Age, Early Medieval, Neolithic, Iron Age
Location(s): Edinburgh, Gogar Mains, Scotland. NGR: 315770,672760; 316520,672500; 316640,672530; 316850,672710
The Development of Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, from the 11th to the 20th CenturiesVol 71 (2017)
The Development of Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, from the 11th to the 20th Centuries
Contributor(s): Morag Cross, Timothy Mighall, Sarah-Jane Haston, Catherine Smith, Stuart Morrison, Timothy Holden
Summary: Archaeological excavations and historic-building recording at the site of Greyfriars Kirkhouse, Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, provided a rare opportunity to investigate the history of an area within Edinburgh's Old Town. Evidence was found for unexpectedly early activity on the site from the 11th or 12th century onwards. The nature of early activity is enigmatic but the area appears to have been largely rural, at the confluence of two major cattle-droving routes into the town. Urban development came in the late 15th century, with the division of the land into burgage-plots and construction of a tenement, at which point the area seems to have been occupied by merchants and burgesses. The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw the redevelopment of the site and evidence for the use of the area as a brass foundry.
Keyword(s): tenement, pit, unidentified pottery, glass vessel, burgage-plots, brass foundary
Period(s): Medieval, Medieval, Late Medieval, Post Medieval, Early Modern
Location(s): Greyfriars Kirkhouse, Candlemaker Row, Grassmarket, Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland. NGR: 325556,673371
Excavation of Prehistoric Roundhouses and Post-Medieval Kilns at Drumyocher and Hospital Shields, AberdeenshireVol 70 (2017)
Excavation of Prehistoric Roundhouses and Post-Medieval Kilns at Drumyocher and Hospital Shields, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson, Torben Ballin, M Cressey, Mhairi Hastie, Adam Jackson, Dawn McLaren, Phil Richardson, Alan Braby, Karen Clarke, L White
Summary: A programme of archaeological watching brief and excavation was carried out by CFA Archaeology Ltd along the route of the Aberdeen to Lochside Natural Gas Pipeline during its construction in 2004. The remains of four truncated Middle Bronze Age roundhouses, one Iron Age post-built roundhouse with a souterrain entered from the house, and two medieval or post-medieval corn-drying kilns were excavated at Drumyocher Farm, near Arbuthnott, Aberdeenshire. An assemblage of decorated pottery was recovered, unusually for this period. The remains of three truncated probable ring-ditch roundhouses were excavated to the north-east of Hospital Shields Farm, near St Cyrus, Aberdeenshire; these features have been radiocarbon dated to the Late Bronze Age.
Keyword(s): roundhouse, roundhouse, souterrain, corn drying kiln, kiln
Period(s): Middle Bronze Age, Iron Age, Iron Age, Medieval, Late Medieval
Location(s): Drumyocher Farm, Arbuthnott, Aberdeenshire, Hospital Shields Farm, St Cyrus, Scotland. NGR: 378310,776790; 372150,767400
Discovering the King's Wall: Excavations at 144-166 Cowgate, EdinburghVol 69 (2017)
Discovering the King's Wall: Excavations at 144-166 Cowgate, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): Stephen Carter, Morag Cross, Dianne Dixon, Nicholas Holmes, Stephen Lancaster, Catherine Smith, Scott Timpany
Summary: This report details the discovery of a late medieval building and the remains of extensive walls running along the north side of Cowgate, excavated in advance of a housing development. The wall remains were dated to the late 14th century and are believed to have been part of Edinburgh’s early town defences. Edinburgh’s medieval town wall is referred to as the ‘King’s wall’ and is linked to a James II charter of 1450. However, there are references to the King’s wall in property documents as early as 1427, indicating that a town wall had been built prior to the charter of 1450. The remains uncovered at Cowgate are likely to be part of this early town wall. Previously the line of the King’s wall was thought to have been located approximately halfway up the slope between Cowgate and the High Street. In view of the new discoveries a revised line is proposed that runs further south along the north side of Cowgate. The clay-bonded stone building was constructed up against the north side of the wall, probably in the late 15th century. It may have been an animal shed, possibly a stable that was the only medieval stone building erected in this area along Cowgate, leaving most of the site as open wasteland as described in late medieval documents. It was replaced by more substantial mortared buildings at the beginning of the 17th century.
Keyword(s): wall, burgage plot, town defences, pottery, coin, dress and personal accessories, dress fastener, nail, spindle whorl
Period(s): Medieval, Late Medieval
Location(s): King's Wall, Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland. NGR: 325851,673489
Monks, Priests and Farmers: A Community Research Excavation at Baliscate, Isle of MullVol 68 (2017)
Monks, Priests and Farmers: A Community Research Excavation at Baliscate, Isle of Mull
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Angela Boyle, Gemma Cruickshanks, George Haggarty, Derek Hall, Derek Hamilton, Richard Jones, Anthony Krus, Kenneth Murdock, Susan Ramsay
Summary: A community research excavation centred on Baliscate on the Isle of Mull took place in autumn 2012. The excavation has revealed the existence of a thriving sixth-century agricultural settlement which was either adopted or replaced by a seventh-century Christian community which appears to have been a monastic establishment. The continued ecclesiastical nature of the settlement into the ninth and tenth centuries is attested by the presence of a later enclosure/vallum and a rectangular structure interpreted as a leacht. In the late 11th or early 12th century, a stone and turf bow-ended structure was built which probably functioned as a longhouse or hall. This structure was later used in the 12th century to house a large corn-drying kiln. Although no 11th- or 12th-century structures were identified adjacent to the leacht, occupation deposits were identified. Then, in the late 13th or early 14th century, a wattle and turf structure was built over these deposits and the remains of a seventh- to eighth-century cemetery. This structure burnt down and was rapidly replaced by a new stone and turf structure enclosed by a rectangular stone and turf enclosure. This is tentatively interpreted as an enclosed chapel, but the evidence is contradictory and it may have simply been an enclosed farmstead. Occupation around the site continued in one form or another until the 16th century and thereafter the site was used intermittently. The excavation has highlighted how little we know about the so-called enclosed chapel sites of Argyll and the absence of evidence for the early Christian church.
Keyword(s): chapel, leacht, corn drying kiln, vallum
Period(s): Early Medieval, Early Medieval, Medieval, Medieval, Late Iron Age, Late Medieval, Early Modern
Location(s): Baliscate, Baliscate Chapel, Coille Creag A Chait, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. NGR: 149677,754068
Where There's Muck There's Money: The Excavation of Medieval and Post-Medieval Middens and Associated Tenement at Advocate's Close, EdinburghVol 67 (2017)
Where There's Muck There's Money: The Excavation of Medieval and Post-Medieval Middens and Associated Tenement at Advocate's Close, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): George Haggarty, Michael Roy, Dawn McLaren, Jackaline Robertson, Hugh Willmott, Jennifer Harland, Dennis Gallagher
Summary: In 2012 excavation works undertaken along the western frontage of Advocate's Close, Edinburgh revealed the remains of a 16th-century tenement, owned in turn by the Cants, Hamiltons and Raes, all burgesses or merchants of the city. The tenement remains consisted of wall foundations, cellar floor surfaces and other substantial architectural features including a turnpike stair and corbelled roof. The tenement was demolished and back-filled with rubble during the late 19th century, after which it was replaced by a formal, terraced garden. The excavations within this area revealed a series of associated midden deposits, pits and structural features located to the immediate rear of the tenement. These deposits have provided a stratified sequence of occupation ranging from the initial settlement of Edinburgh's Old Town in the 12th/13th century to the clearing and landscaping of the tenement area in the late 19th century. A large artefactual assemblage was recovered from the midden deposits, including important animal and fish bone, glass, clay pipe, tile and ceramic evidence. The ceramic assemblage included substantial amounts of imported material from England and the Continent. The consumption patterns revealed by the artefactual and ecofactual evidence appear to directly reflect the changing fortunes of post-medieval Edinburgh. The high status of many of the Close's inhabitants is illustrated throughout the expansion of the 16th and 17th centuries, as is the decline undergone during the later 17th and early 18th centuries. The stratified midden deposits at Advocate's Close reveal the changing attitudes of the Old Town inhabitants towards the issue of midden management and general waste disposal, which in turn reflects the development and growth taking place in Edinburgh during the late 16th to 19th centuries. During this period the denizens of Edinburgh moved from pursuing a peri-urban system of agriculture, in which midden material was stored, to one in which a decreasing involvement with agriculture led to a shift in favour of rapid disposal.
Keyword(s): Midden, Animal remains, ceramic, tile, Assemblage, Tenement
Period(s): Medieval, 20th Century
Location(s): Advocate's Close, Old Town, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland. NGR: 325700,673671
Unenclosed Prehistoric Settlement and Early Medieval Pits at Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, HighlandsVol 66 (2017)
Unenclosed Prehistoric Settlement and Early Medieval Pits at Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, Highlands
Contributor(s): Dawn McLaren, Jackaline Robertson, Rob Engl
Summary: The excavation of a greenfield development at the Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, Moray has revealed the remains of four episodes of heavily truncated settlement activity on a gravel terrace above the River Spey. In the Middle Bronze Age there was pit-digging activity, followed by a Late Bronze Age settlement consisting of at least two, and probably four, post-ring roundhouses and a four-poster. A single ring-ditch roundhouse represents Middle Iron Age settlement, and activity in the ninth to twelfth centuries ad is represented by a number of large rubbish disposal pits possibly associated with two post-ring roundhouses. A small assemblage of macroplant, charcoal and burnt bone was recovered, as well as a small amount of prehistoric pottery, a few coarse stone artefacts and metalworking residues.
Keyword(s): Roundhouse, Post hole, Quarry pit, Ring ditch, Pit
Period(s): Medieval, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Middle Iron Age
Location(s): Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie, Aberlour, Moray, Scotland, River Spey, Easter Elchies House. NGR: 327800,844700
A Medieval Farmstead at Laigh Newton North-West, East AyrshireVol 65 (2017)
A Medieval Farmstead at Laigh Newton North-West, East Ayrshire
Contributor(s): Susan Ramsey, Robert Will, Beverley Ballin-Smith
Summary: Excavations at Laigh Newton North-West Ayrshire in advance of quarrying revealed a rare late medieval farmstead consisting of a palisaded enclosure, four sunken stone- and turf-built buildings, one of which maybe a charcoal kiln, two possible timber-built structures and drainage ditches. The pottery and radiocarbondates indicate that the site was occupied in the 14th–15th centuries. It is thought that this site belonged to the farm of Newton, which was first documented in the late 14th century within the parish of Galston. At that time the parish of Galston belonged to the Lockhart family. The site probably went out of use in the 16th or 17th century as a result of a change of ownership and the increased commercialisation of farming practice. As a result the structures were demolished or allowed to decay, the ditches were filled in and the land turned over to arable.
Keyword(s): Farmstead, Charcoal kiln, Sherd, Enclosure, Palisade
Location(s): Laigh Newton, East Ayrshire, Loudoun Hill Quarry, Darvel, Loudoun, East Ayrshire, Scotland. NGR: NS 5937 3684
Relieving Floods, Revealing History: Early Prehistoric Activity at Knocknagael Farm, InvernessVol 64 (2016)
Relieving Floods, Revealing History: Early Prehistoric Activity at Knocknagael Farm, Inverness
Contributor(s): Torben Bjarke Ballin, Beverley Ballin Smith, Susan Ramsay
Summary: A programme of archaeological work prior to the construction of a flood-relief channel at Knocknagael Farm, south-west of Inverness, revealed a series of prehistoric features including pits, hearths, fire-spots and possible structural features. Finds included sherds from a Neolithic bowl and a Bronze Age cordoned urn. Palaeo-botanical remains were present in many features and included the carbonised remains of cereal grains including naked six-row barley and spelt. Radiocarbon dating revealed that activity at the site ranged from the 7th millennium BC to the 1st millennium AD. This is one of the earliest dates yet obtained from the Culduthel valley, which has already produced much evidence of prehistoric activity including the high-status Iron Age site of Culduthel Farm (Highland HER MHG49950).
Keyword(s): bowl, pits, hearths, spelt, urn., barley, sherds, cereal grains
Period(s): Iron Age, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Early Prehistoric
Location(s): Culduthel Farm (Highland, Knocknagael Farm. NGR: NH 675 422
Excavation of two Early Bronze Age Short Cists and a Prehistoric Pit at Lindsayfield, near Stonehaven, AberdeenshireVol 63 (2016)
Excavation of two Early Bronze Age Short Cists and a Prehistoric Pit at Lindsayfield, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): S Anderson, T Ballin, M Hastie, A Sheridan
Summary: Two short cists of Early Bronze Age date, containing prehistoric flint artefacts and shale/cannel coal beads, were discovered during topsoiling operations for the Aberdeen to Lochside Natural Gas Pipeline, to the south of Lindsayfield, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Cremated human bone from one of the cists was radiocarbon dated to the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. A pit which contained broadly contemporary prehistoric flint artefacts and pottery was found nearby. The fieldwork and post-excavation work were funded by National Grid Transco.
Keyword(s): pottery, coal beads, Pit, flint artefacts, human bone
Period(s): Prehistoric, Early Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NO 8195 8412; NO 8185 8402
Ben Lawers: An Archaeological Landscape in Time. Results from the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project, 1996–2005Vol 62 (2016)
Ben Lawers: An Archaeological Landscape in Time. Results from the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project, 1996–2005
Contributor(s): J D Bateson, Ann Clarke, Sue Constable, Adrian Cox, George Dalgleish, John S Duncan, Nyree Finlay, Craig Frew, George Haggarty, Janet Hooper, Lorna Innes, Joanne T McKenzie, Kirsteen McLellan, Jennifer Miller, Robin K Murdoch, Effie Photos-Jones, Susan Ramsay, Julie Roberts, Ingrid Shearer, Alison Sheridan, Ian A Simpson, Ronan Toolis, Margaret Watters, Robert S Will, Lyn Wilson, GIllian McSwan, Jill Sievewright
Summary: This volume presents the results of archaeological investigations between 1996 and 2005, carried out as part of the Ben Lawers Historic Landscape Project, a multi-disciplinary project based on north Loch Tayside in the Central Highlands of Scotland. Archaeological surveys and excavations formed the core of the Ben Lawers Project, but many other disciplines also contributed to researching this landscape. Some of these partner projects are reported here, while others have been presented elsewhere (Tipping et al 2009), and some have formed part of doctoral research projects (Watters 2007). The results of the 13 field seasons, particularly the nine evaluation and excavation seasons, together with the results of the partner projects, specialist studies and scientific analyses, have provided a body of evidence which permits the story of the land of Lawers to be told. The historical continuum in that story can be used to curate and manage this landscape for generations to come.
Keyword(s): scientific analyses, lithics, hut circle, chambered cairn, round barrow, crannog, ring-ditch house, cist, inhumation, cemetery, shieling hut, manor house, castle, tower house, assemblage, Beaker, sherds, rotary quern
Period(s): Early Prehistoric, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age, early medieval, medieval, post medieval
Location(s): Loch Tayside, Central Highlands. NGR: NN 63763 41298
Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the North-east of Scotland: Excavations at Grantown Road, Forres 2002-2013Vol 61 (2016)
Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in the North-east of Scotland: Excavations at Grantown Road, Forres 2002-2013
Contributor(s): Jackaline Robertson, Dawn McLaren, Rob Engl, David Dungworth, Clare Ellis, Rachael Ives
Summary: The commercial development of the north-east of Scotland has resulted in a huge influx of new information on the prehistoric and Early Historic occupation of the area. A series of cropmarks investigated at Grantown Road, Forres between 2002 and 2013 has confirmed the presence of an extensive Iron Age settlement and revealed new evidence for activity from the Neolithic to the Early Historic period. The Iron Age settlement is represented by a variety of building types including ring-ditch, ring-groove and post-ring structures, in association with four-post structures, a souterrain and metalworking furnaces. Although the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Early Historic periods are not so well represented they nonetheless have provided evidence for the occupation of the area. The artefactual assemblage includes Neolithic and Bronze Age ceramic and coarse stone and Iron Age material relating to metalworking.
Keyword(s): metalworking, ceramic, settlement, stone, cropmarks
Period(s): Bronze Age, prehistoric, Iron Age, Neolithic
Location(s): Grantown Road, Forres. NGR: NJ 0263 5740
Multi-period activity, the European Marine Science Park, Dunstaffnage, ArgyllVol 60 (2016)
Multi-period activity, the European Marine Science Park, Dunstaffnage, Argyll
Contributor(s): Derek Hamilton, Susan Ramsay, Angela Boyle, Anne MacSween, Gemma Gruickshanks, Torben Bjarke Ballin
Summary: Excavation in advance of development of the European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage in Argyll revealed multi-phased activity from the Neolithic into the Early Historic period. An irregular row of firepits, interpreted as funerary pyres, was orientated east–west and incorporated an infant inhumation and a cobble path. Dating of charcoal revealed that the fire-pits were probably in use for a number of generations during the Late Iron Age. The fire-pits were located on the edge of wet ground and it is postulated that these were deliberately located on what may have been perceived as a liminal boundary to aid passage into the afterlife. Activity shifted to the drier ground in the Early Historic period, late 7th to 9th century, in the form of an extended farmstead within which barley and oats were being dried in a kiln. Evidence for possible barns and/or houses survives in the form of a post-hole structure, a post-built wattle and daub structure, at least one basket pit boiler and a number of cobble hearths. One pit contained ten metal artefacts thought to be derived from agricultural implements or a dismantled structure. The duration of use of the farmstead appears to have been relatively short and it may have been seasonally occupied.
Keyword(s): inhumation, farmstead, cobble path., basket pit, cobble hearths, charcoal, post-hole structure, funerary
Period(s): Early Historic, late 7th to 9th century, Late Iron Age, Neolithic
Location(s): Argyll, Dunstaffnage. NGR: NM 87878 34063
Volumes 40-59 Volumes 40-59
A Roman Road Runs Through It: Excavations at Newbridge, EdinburghVol 59 (2016)
A Roman Road Runs Through It: Excavations at Newbridge, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): Nick Johnstone, George Haggarty, Jackaline Robertson, Stefan Sagrott
Summary: Excavations in advance of a phased commercial development have revealed a palimpsest of activity spanning the Middle Bronze Age to the medieval period. There was a scatter of domestic settlement in the Middle Bronze Age and pre-Roman Iron Age, together with small ring-groove features which may be the remnants of a barrow cemetery forming part of a later prehistoric ritual landscape centred on Huly Hill. Perhaps the most significant discovery of these excavations is the identification of a section of Roman road which probably represents the westward extension of Dere Street linking Inveresk and Carriden. Its discovery provides solid evidence for the routeway that the milestone at Ingliston and the temporary camps at Gogar have always intimated. Finally, the area was farmed in the medieval period, the associated settlement probably lying to the north of the excavated area. The dating evidence suggests two distinct phases of activity, in the 11th to 12th centuries and in the 13th to 14th centuries, a pattern reflected in other medieval settlement in the Lothians.
Keyword(s): barrow, settlement, ritual, road
Period(s): Roman, prehistoric, Middle Bronze Age, pre-Roman Iron Age
Location(s): Newbridge, Huly Hill, Dere Street. NGR: NT 121 733
Excavations at Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh: the development of closes and tenements north of the Royal Mile during the 16th-18th centuriesVol 58 (2014)
Excavations at Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh: the development of closes and tenements north of the Royal Mile during the 16th-18th centuries
Summary: Excavations on the site of a former tannery to the rear of Edinburgh's High Street produced evidence for the infilling of medieval burgage plots from the 16th century onwards. Walls defining a terrace and a burgage plot boundary suggest a considerable investment in at least some of the backlands during the medieval period, but these structures later went out of use, corresponding to a widely documented decline in Scottish towns during the 14th century. During the late 16th century, substantial buildings with cellars on either side of a paved close represent the first appearance of the multi-storey tenement buildings that characterise much of the Old Town. These buildings provide the basis for a discussion of the character of urbanisation in late 16th- and early 17th-century Edinburgh. The cellars were demolished and backfilled with refuse at different dates between the 1640s and 1740s. Finds from these refuse deposits are highly significant as a sample of changing consumption patterns during this period. During the 18th century the area appears to have declined in status and taken on a more industrial character; later, a tannery was established on part of the site by the 1830s, which expanded to cover much of the site by the 1880s.
Keyword(s): boundary, Walls, tannery, cellars, Burgage, Plots, Pits, Buckle, Pottery, Pipes, Exotic Plant Remains, Charcoal, Carbonised Plant Remains, Barley, Dutch Redware, Redware, Sheep, Cattle, Bird Bones, Domestic Chicken, Mouse, Pig Dog Cat Rabbit, Fish Bones, Domestic Bird, Bones
Period(s): medieval, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century, Roman
Location(s): Jeffrey Street, Scottish, Edinburgh, Edinburgh's High Street. NGR: NT 260 737
Excavation across the Dere Street Roman Road at Dun Law, Scottish BordersVol 57 (2014)
Excavation across the Dere Street Roman Road at Dun Law, Scottish Borders
Contributor(s): Jacqueline Huntley, Robert McCulloch, Clare Ellis, Leeanne Whitelaw, Shelly Werner
Summary: Dere Street Roman Road was strategically important to the Roman army. It was built in the late 1st century ad to enable the advance of the Roman Army, commanded by Agricola, into the hostile territories of what is now Scotland. This eastern arterial road linked the Roman legionary forts of Eburacum (York) and Inchtuthil near Perth, and continued to be used through the medieval period, its longevity of use standing as a testament to Roman engineering and road construction. In 2007 an archaeological excavation made an exciting discovery which sheds new light on construction techniques employed by Agricola’s legionnaires and demonstrates their adaptive ability to use whatever local resources were at hand to engineer a solution for crossing difficult terrain. As an archaeological response to a proposal to extend the existing Dun Law Windfarm, excavations were conducted by CFA Archaeology Ltd across what was believed to be the course of Dere Street running across Dun Law, a prominent, but wet and boggy, hillside in the Scottish Borders. The excavations discovered a surviving section of the road, which at that point traversed a palaeochannel by means of a latticework of logs and a mat of branchwood. Throughout the Roman world there are only a handful of incidences where it has been demonstrated that this technique was employed in Roman road construction. Post-excavation analysis concluded that the wood used was of local origin and was stripped and gathered from a largely depleted forest resource. The excavated section of road revealed an underlying layer of peat which, when sampled by coring, provided evidence for the reconstruction of the local environment spanning a period from the mid Holocene to the Roman occupation of Britain.
Keyword(s): Road, Legionary Forts, Pollen, Micromorphology, Radiocarbon Dating, Organic Soils
Period(s): Roman, medieval
Location(s): Dere Street Roman Road, Perth, Dere Street, Scottish Borders, Britain. NGR: NT 7887 1054
Excavations in the Canongate Backlands, EdinburghVol 56 (2013)
Excavations in the Canongate Backlands, Edinburgh
Contributor(s): George Haggarty, Nicholas Holmes, Dennis Gallagher, David Henderson, Clare Ellis, Andrew Heald, Stuart Campbell, Patrice Vandorpe, Jill Turnbull
Summary: The following paper presents the results of two excavations undertaken in 1999 and 2000 within parts of the World Heritage Site of the Old Town of Edinburgh and the Canongate. Excavation at Plot N of the Holyrood North Re-Development Project, Holyrood Road, unearthed evidence of Medieval boundary works (including a possible 12th-century burgh ditch), a 17th-century well, a Medieval graindrying kiln, refuse pits, drainage features and Post-Medieval cultivation soils. Excavation alongside Calton Road revealed evidence of medieval/Post-medieval property divisions, cultivation soils and quarry pits. Both sites yielded significant artefact assemblages.
Keyword(s): boundary, quarry pits, pits, graindrying kiln, ditch, castle, Vessel glass, Pottery, Ceramic Material, Window Glass, Animal Bone
Period(s): Post-Medieval, Medieval
Location(s): Calton Road, Edinburgh. NGR: NT 2597 7399
Marlin's Wynd: new archaeological and documentary research on Post-medieval settlement below the Tron Kirk, Edinburgh.Vol 55 (2013)
Marlin's Wynd: new archaeological and documentary research on Post-medieval settlement below the Tron Kirk, Edinburgh.
Contributor(s): Nicholas Holmes, George Haggarty, Hugh Wilmott
Summary: The 17th-century Tron Kirk, on the High Street, Edinburgh, is built over the remains of tenement buildings that were pulled down to allow its construction. The re-development of the building provided an opportunity to complete the earlier excavations carried out between 1974 and 1983 and a more complete footprint of the tenements emerged, together with a fragment of the old High Street. The archaeological investigation has been complemented by documentary research which has populated the tenements with colourful occupants as far back as the late 15th century. The artefact assemblages from both the recent and earlier excavations contain only material of 16th- and 17th century date, which suggests that the tenements had been redeveloped during the late 15th/early 16th centuries, thus removing all but a trace of the earlier medieval settlement.
Keyword(s): settlement, Charcoal, courtyard, Industrial activity, Leather, Pottery, Animal Bones, Glass, Ceramic
Period(s): Post-medieval, medieval
Location(s): Tron Kirk, Edinburgh, High Street. NGR: NT 2592 7363
Excavation of post-built roundhouses and a circular ditched enclosure at Kiltaraglen, Portree, Isle of Skye 2006-07Vol 54 (2013)
Excavation of post-built roundhouses and a circular ditched enclosure at Kiltaraglen, Portree, Isle of Skye 2006-07
Contributor(s): Melanie Johnson, Torben Ballin, Adam Jackson, Dawn McLaren, Nicholas Holmes, Sue Anderson, Mhairi Hastie, Michael Cressey, Robert McCulloch, Clare Ellis
Summary: This report details the archaeological remains recorded by CFA Archaeology Ltd during a programme of fieldwork at Kiltaraglen, now a residential housing development on a prominent, elevated site at the northern edge of Portree on the Isle of Skye. The fieldwork ran from September 2006 until March 2007. The project resulted in the discovery and excavation of varied archaeological remains including timber roundhouses, a circular ditch-defined enclosure, post-alignments and settings, miniature souterrains, probable standing stone sockets and an assortment of pits. An assemblage of Beaker pottery was recovered from two pits but the site was generally artefact-poor and reliance was placed on radiocarbon dating that indicates occupation of the site began in the Early Bronze Age and ended in the medieval period, with most activity occurring during the Later Bronze Age. This is of great interest as archaeological remains dating to the Later Bronze Age on the Isle of Skye have previously been notable only by their absence.
Keyword(s): fieldwork, Beaker pottery, roundhouses, pits, ditched enclosure, timber roundhouses, charcoal, stone slag, coin
Period(s): Late Bronze Age, Early Bronze Age, Bronze Age, medieval
Location(s): Isle of Skye. NGR: 476 444
An early Bronze Age unenclosed cremation cemetery and Mesolithic pit at Skilmafilly, near Maud, AberdeenshireVol 53 (2012)
An early Bronze Age unenclosed cremation cemetery and Mesolithic pit at Skilmafilly, near Maud, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): Adam Jackson, Kathleen McSweeney, Dawn McLaren, Torben Ballin, Catherine Smith, Mhairi Hastie, Lucy Verrill
Summary: An unenclosed Early Bronze Age cremation cemetery was excavated by CFA Archaeology Ltd (CFA) during a watching brief associated with the construction of a natural gas pipeline from St Fergus to Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, in the summer of 2001. The cremation cemetery contained 41 pits, 29 of which contained cremated human bone, and 11 of these were associated with Collared or Cordoned Urns. The cremations have been radiocarbon dated, through a combination of charcoal and bone apatite, to 2040 to 1500 BC, and the cemetery is the most comprehensively dated in Britain of this period. A variety of grave goods were recovered, including a pair of Golden Eagle talons and a flint foliate knife. A large Mesolithic pit was found in the same location as the cremation pits and was dated to 4510-3970 BC.
Keyword(s): pit, bone, cremation cemetery, charcoal, cemetery, Grave, Cremations, Bone, Charcoal, Flint, Pits
Period(s): Mesolithic, Early Bronze Age, Late Neoloithic
Location(s): St Fergus. NGR: 9088 3990
Excavations at the Bishop's Palace, Old Rayne, Aberdeenshire in 1990 and 2008Vol 52 (2012)
Excavations at the Bishop's Palace, Old Rayne, Aberdeenshire in 1990 and 2008
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Catherine Smith, Scott Timpany, D Masson, R Cerón-Carrasco
Summary: This report on the excavations at the Bishop of Aberdeen's manor at Old Rayne, Aberdeenshire, undertaken in 1990 and 2008, examines the morphology of the site and details the evidence for high-status buildings and an intricate water-system there in the late 13th/early 14th century. The environmental analyses give a glimpse into the economy of the manor and there is some discussion of the extent to which this episcopal site compares to the small number of secular manors excavated to date in north-east Scotland.
Keyword(s): Fired Clay, Mound, Ditch, Enclosure, Pottery sherds, Lithics, Animal bone
Period(s): late 13th/early 14th century, medieval
Location(s): Old Rayne. NGR: 6758 2851
An Corran, Staffin, Skye: a rockshelter with Mesolithic and later occupationVol 51 (2012)
An Corran, Staffin, Skye: a rockshelter with Mesolithic and later occupation
Contributor(s): László Bartosiewicz, Clive Bonsall, Margaret Bruce, Stephen Carter, Trevor Cowie, Oliver Craig, Ywonne Hallén, Timothy G Holden, N W Kerr, Jennifer Miller, Nicky Milner, Catriona Pickard, Alan Braby, Marion O'Neil, Craig Angus
Summary: The An Corran rockshelter, on the north-east coast of the Trotternish peninsula, Skye, contained a series of shell midden and other deposits with evidence for human occupation from Mesolithic and later periods. A rescue investigation of the site in the winter of 1993-94, immediately prior to anticipated total destruction by rock-blasting for roadworks, included the excavation of a trench dug down to bedrock. A total of 41 separate contexts were identi-fied. Of these, 31 were recent or later prehistoric, the upper levels containing a series of hearths of recent date and an Iron Age copper-alloy pin. The lowest 10 layers were identified initially as Mesolithic on the basis of bone tool and lithic typology, but a series of 18 radiocarbon dates indicates they contain the residues of subsequent prehistoric activity as well. These layers consisted of several distinct areas of midden, below which there were two, possibly three, horizons which probably, based on the presence of broad blade microliths, represent Early Mesolithic activity. The midden layers also contained some human bones radiocarbon-dated to the Neolithic period. The rockshelter was located below an outcrop of baked mudstone and near a source of chalcedonic silica. Both these lithic raw materials were widely used during the Mesolithic as far away as the island of Rum.
Keyword(s): Hearths, Copper alloy Pin, Baked Mudstone, Shell Midden, Radiocarbon Dates, Rum, Midden, Blade Microliths, Bone, Human Bones, Animal Bones, Human Remains
Period(s): Early Mesolithic, Prehistoric, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age
Location(s): NGR: 4915 6848
A Rural Medieval Settlement and Early Iron Age Funerary Remains at Hallhill, Dunbar, East LothianVol 50 (2011)
A Rural Medieval Settlement and Early Iron Age Funerary Remains at Hallhill, Dunbar, East Lothian
Contributor(s): Derek Hall, Adrian Cox, Adam Jackson, Catherine Smith, R Ceron-Carrasco
Summary: An archaeological excavation at Hallhill, Dunbar, has revealed the remains of a rural medieval settlement. Few such sites have been identified in Scotland. Two irregular structures, an enclosure and other possible structures, as well as numerous pits and several gullies and ditches were identified. Large quantities of medieval pottery were recovered from the fills of many of the features, as well as animal bone, coarse stone and metal artefacts. Further to the north, a sub-square ditched enclosure was also found, although this could not be stratigraphically related to the medieval remains and is undated. Adjacent to it was a pit containing incomplete remains of a human skeleton which have been dated to the Late Bronze Age. The work was sponsored by George Wimpey East Scotland Ltd.
Keyword(s): Pit, Enclosure, Metal Artefacts, Stone, Ditch, Ditched Enclosure, Animal Bone, Pottery, Settlement, Human Skeleton, Gullies, Long Cist Cemetery, Excavation, Rural Settlement
Period(s): Early Iron Age, Late Bronze Age, Medieval
Location(s): NGR: 6754 775
Neolithic domesticity and other prehistoric anomalies: excavations at Laigh Newton, East AyrshireVol 49 (2011)
Neolithic domesticity and other prehistoric anomalies: excavations at Laigh Newton, East Ayrshire
Contributor(s): Jo Bacon, Gillian McSwan, Ingrid Shearer, Torben Bjarke Ballin, Beverley Ballin Smith, Martin Carruthers, Charlotte Francoz, Heather James, Kirsteen McLellan, Susan Ramsay, Joe Somerville, Dave Swan
Summary: A series of archaeological evaluations and excavations at Laigh Newton in East Ayrshire revealed evidence for intermittent occupation of this valley terrace between the Mesolithic and the Late Iron Age. The plough-truncated archaeology included the remains of a rectangular building and associated features of the mid-late fourth millennium BC, a more ephemeral structure and related pits of the mid third millennium BC, a charcoal-burning pit of the mid-first millennium AD and two other rectilinear structures of indeterminate date.
Keyword(s): Rectangular Building, Pits, Rectilinear Structures, Pottery, Lithics, Plant Remains
Period(s): Late Iron Age, Prehistoric, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: 5937 3684; 5982 3693; 6029 3695
ISBN: 978 0903 903 516
Aeolian archaeology: the archaeology of sand landscapes in ScotlandVol 48 (2011)
Aeolian archaeology: the archaeology of sand landscapes in Scotland
Contributor(s): Susan Dawson, Alastair Dawson, Jason T Jordan, Mike Parker-Pearson, Jacqui Mulville, Niall Sharples, Helen Smith, Tom Dawson, Olivia Lelong, Ingrid Shearer, John Berber
Summary: Landscapes characterised by a substantial presence of aeolian (wind-blown) sand are predominantly coastal, and range from active dunefields with high and unstable relief, to smoother and more stable grassed surfaces which may be subject to some degree of agricultural use. Some are remote and inaccessible, but others exist in closer proximity to conurbations and tourist areas, and the impact of visitors is therefore comparatively great. In addition to the ever-present scouring and redistributing forces of sea and wind, other pressures on the stability of these landscapes include aggregates quarrying, development and the ubiquitous presence of wild burrowing fauna, most obviously the rabbit. Sand creates dynamic 'soft' landforms which are subject to continuing change, to the extent that photographs or maps of just 100 years ago often present very different topographies from those visible today. The encroachment of the sea and continual process of wind-induced change can transform a sand landscape almost overnight. In depositional strata, long periods of stasis may be represented by comparatively shallow soil horizons, which are frequently separated by much deeper bands of sand which may result from wind-blow episodes of far shorter timescale. Dune systems frequently occupy zones of extensive past settlement attraction with numerous environmental advantages, and therefore occur in areas of generally high archaeological potential. Yet their complexity and extreme vulnerability present us with serious problems in terms of balancing an understanding of the archaeology with conservation strategies.
Keyword(s): Aeolian Windblown Sand, Aggregates Quarrying Development, Settlement
Location(s): NGR: 2361 1960;
ISBN: 0 903903 68 4
A Later Prehistoric Settlement and Metalworking Site at Seafield West, near Inverness, HighlandVol 47 (2011)
A Later Prehistoric Settlement and Metalworking Site at Seafield West, near Inverness, Highland
Contributor(s): Ann Clarke, Trevor Cowie, Fraser Hunter, Andrew Heald, katherine Eremin, Melanie Johnson, Ruth Pelling, Ian Mack, Gerry McDonnell, George Maudie, Alan Braby, Shelly Werner
Summary: Construction in 1996 at a major retail development site close to Inverness, Highland resulted in the destruction of two known cropmark sites. One set of cropmarks was found to be associated with a Bronze Age log-boat burial site and the results of the ensuing excavation are published elsewhere (Cressey & Sheridan 2003). The excavation of a second area of cropmarks forms the subject of this publication. The archaeological remains consisted of a series of negative features, post-holes and annular ditches which form parts of at least nine separate structures of a later prehistoric unenclosed settlement. A mould fragment indicated Late Bronze Age sword production in the vicinity. A palisaded enclosure produced a copper-alloy brooch that is a rare find for the region. Evidence of copper-alloy objects and metalworking from a smelting hearth and slags show that the occupants were of some status. Some of the structural and artefactual evidence compellingly points to an in situ ironworking workshop. A large cache of smithing charcoal found in association with a smelting hearth was radiocarbon dated to 180BC-AD70 and represents one of the few dated in situ Iron Age ironworking episodes in Scotland.
Keyword(s): Postholes, Cropmarks, Charcoal, Ditches, Slags, Cropmark, Sword, Metalworking, Palisaded Enclosure, Logboat Burial, Copperalloy Brooch, Settlement, Hearth, Ironworking
Period(s): Iron Age, Prehistoric, Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NH 694 445
ISBN: 0 903903 52 3
Lockerbie Academy: Neolithic and Early Historic timber halls, a Bronze Age cemetery, an undated enclosure and a post-medieval corn-drying kiln in south-west ScotlandVol 46 (2011)
Lockerbie Academy: Neolithic and Early Historic timber halls, a Bronze Age cemetery, an undated enclosure and a post-medieval corn-drying kiln in south-west Scotland
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson, Mhairi Hastie, Adam Jackson, Melanie Johnson, R McBride, D McLaren, P Northover, Alison Sheridan, J Thoms, Graeme Warren, L Whitelaw, K Clarke, C Evenden, M O'Neil
Summary: Trial trenching carried out by CFA Archaeology Ltd in 2006 to the north of Lockerbie Academy identified four areas of archaeological significance covering a timescale from early Neolithic to post-medieval periods. The earliest site identified was the remains of a Neolithic timber hall, which was situated on top of the flat plateau towards the northwest end of the site (Area A). Pottery recovered from the Neolithic structure was of the Carinated Bowl ceramic tradition.
At the summit of the rounded knoll in the centre of the area (Area D) a Bronze Age phase consisting of a cremation and inhumation cemetery enclosed by a possible ring-cairn was identified. The Bronze Age cemetery included a Collared Urn and a copper alloy dagger of Butterwick type.
At the base of the rounded knoll, the remains of an Early Historic timber hall were identified (Area C). This Anglian timber hall reoccupied the site of a post-built structure, which was interpreted as a timber hall, possibly belonging to an earlier British tradition. Radiocarbon dates taken from the primary fill of two of the post-holes of the earlier structure gave dates which are broadly contemporary with the dates obtained for the Anglian hall, suggesting that the post-built structure immediately preceded it.
A corn-drying kiln was identified cut into the same knoll as the Bronze Age cemetery (Area D) and has been dated to the late medieval or early post-medieval period.
A segmented ditched enclosure was located towards the north-east end of the site (Area B), but the poor survival of this feature combined with a lack of finds and palaeobotanical evidence means that it remains undated and poorly understood.
Keyword(s): Timber Hall, Copper Alloy, British Tradition Radiocarbon, Kiln, Ditched Enclosure, Pottery, Cemetery, Early Historic Timber Hall, Inhumation Cemetery, Cremation, Ceramic, Postholes
Period(s): Medieval, Neolithic, Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NY 13398273
ISBN: 0 903903 53 0
Late Neolithic and Late Bronze Age lithic assemblages associated with a cairn and other prehistoric features at Stoneyhill Farm, Longhaven, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, 2002-03Vol 45 (2011)
Late Neolithic and Late Bronze Age lithic assemblages associated with a cairn and other prehistoric features at Stoneyhill Farm, Longhaven, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, 2002-03
Contributor(s): M Cressey, M Hastie, A Jackson, M Johnson
Summary: Prehistoric remains were recorded by CFA Archaeology Ltd (CFA) in 2002-03 during a programme of fieldwork at the landfill site within the boundaries of Stoneyhill Farm, which lies 7km to the southwest of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. These included a clearance cairn with a Late Bronze Age lithic assemblage and a burial cairn, with Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age lithics and Beaker ceramics. Other lithic scatters of similar date had no certain associations, although pits containing near-contemporary Impressed Wares were nearby. Additional lithic assemblages included material dated to the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic. What may be proto-Unstan Wares in an isolated pit were associated with radiocarbon dates (barley) of the first half of the fourth millennium bc. These findings represent a substantial addition to the local area's archaeological record and form an important contribution to the understanding of lithic technology and ceramics in earlier prehistoric Scotland.
This paper is dedicated to the memory of Ian Shepherd, whose site visits enlightened this and other projects undertaken by one of the authors (IS).
Keyword(s): Radiocarbon Dates Barley, Pit, Pits, Lithic, Beaker Ceramics, Fieldwork, Ceramics, Lithic Scatters, Burial Cairn, Lithics, Cairn
Period(s): Late Neolithic, Earlier Prehistoric, Late Bronze Age, Early Neolithic, Prehistoric, Early Bronze Age, Mesolithic, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: NT 335 722
ISBN: 978 090 390 354 7
Excavations on the Route of the Dalkeith Northern Bypass, 1994-95 and 2006Vol 44 (2010)
Excavations on the Route of the Dalkeith Northern Bypass, 1994-95 and 2006
Contributor(s): D Alexander, Sue Anderson, Torben Ballin, David Caldwell, C Clarke, B Finlayson, Adam Jackson, M Johnson, Fraser Hunter, R McCulloch, F Oliver, R Pelling, J Thoms, F Wild
Summary: An evaluation and subsequent targeted excavations were carried out along the route of the proposed A68 Dalkeith Northern Bypass by the Centre for Field Archaeology (CFA) between September 1994 and March 1995, with additional watching briefs taking place in 1997. The work was commissioned by Historic Scotland on behalf of the Roads Directorate of the Scottish Office Industry Department. The bypass was not constructed at the time, and further pre-construction mitigation work was recommended in 2005, with fieldwork being carried out in 2006-08 by CFA Archaeology Ltd, for Historic Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland.
This report describes the results of the evaluations and each excavation individually. The route traverses a narrow strip of the Lothian plain which contained several prehistoric sites (two ring-groove structures, a stone-paved area and two pit alignments), a Roman temporary camp, a post-medieval building, an 18th-century designed landscape, and two industrial sites (a brick and tile works and a coal pit engine house). Several sites also produced ephemeral remains of earlier or later date. Overall, the results indicated a settlement pattern and land use which concentrated on the sands and gravels of the river terraces, with far less settlement on the unforgiving compacted clays which otherwise characterise large parts of the road corridor.
Keyword(s): Postmedieval Building, Brick, Corridor, Tile, Pit, Coal Pit Engine House, Settlement Pattern
Period(s): Roman, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: NT 335 695; NT 378 667
ISBN: 0 903903 55 4
The Excavation of Bronze Age Roundhouses at Oldmeldrum, AberdeenshireVol 43 (2010)
The Excavation of Bronze Age Roundhouses at Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Mhairi Hastie, Melanie Johnson, D McLaren, J Thoms, Adam Jackson, Michael Cressey
Summary: Excavations in summer 2005 to the north of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, revealed the remains of at least three Bronze Age ring-ditch roundhouses and associated features, together apparently forming elements of an area of open settlement. The excavations were conducted in advance of the construction of a new bypass road around the north of Oldmeldrum, related to new housing development. George Wimpey (East Scotland Ltd) funded the project.
Keyword(s): Ringditch Roundhouses, Settlement
Period(s): Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NJ 806 279
ISBN: 0 903903 56 1
Through the Cowgatelife in 15th-century Edinburgh as revealed by excavations at St Patrick's ChurchVol 42 (2011)
Through the Cowgatelife in 15th-century Edinburgh as revealed by excavations at St Patrick's Church
Contributor(s): Anne Crone, Morag Cross, Julie Franlin, Sarah-Jane Haston, N M Holmes, Stephen Lancaster, T Mighall, Eileen Reilly, Clare Thomas, Scott Timpany, Auli Tourunen
Summary: Excavations in the grounds of St Patrick's Church, Edinburgh were undertaken by Headland Archaeology from November 2006 to February 2007 on behalf of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh in advance of the construction of a hotel on the site. Soil analyses suggested that flash floods had swept through this part of Cowgate up until the early development of the medieval town upslope in the 11th-12th centuries. This early pattern was followed by the gradual build-up of material washed downslope from the High Street; this contained midden material and dung beetles, illustrating the nearby presence of the town. The site lay outwith the bounds of the burgh until the 14th century, when a substantial ditch was cut across the site, believed to be the medieval town boundary. The ditch was backfilled in the 15th century and finds and samples have revealed a vivid picture of life in the medieval town. The ditch was a stinking rubbish dump for many kinds of human and animal detritus, which illustrates that the Cowgate was a busy thoroughfare to the town's markets and contained a variety of industries, including horn working. After the ditch was filled in deep midden deposits, characteristic of this area of Edinburgh, built up on the site.
Period(s): Fifteenth centruy
Location(s): NGR: NT 26123 73610
ISBN: 0 903903 57 8
Excavations on the Site of Balmerino House, Constitution Street, LeithVol 41 (2010)
Excavations on the Site of Balmerino House, Constitution Street, Leith
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson, Dennis Gallagher, George Haggarty, Derek Hall, Andrew Heald, Adam Jackson, Dawn McLaren, Catherine Smith
Summary: The remains of the front of Balmerino House, built in 1631, were uncovered during an archaeological excavation at St Mary's Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, Constitution Street, Leith. The work also revealed several phases of medieval to post-medieval activity, and a small burial ground which predated the house. The earliest feature uncovered by the excavation was a well containing 13th- to 14th-century pottery. Large quantities of late to post-medieval pottery were recovered, as well as iron objects, glass and bone. The human remains comprised six adult males, although some were incomplete due to later disturbance. Of importance to the history of clay tobacco pipe manufacture in Scotland is a small assemblage of clay-pipe wasters and kiln waste dated c1630-40. The work was sponsored by Gregor Properties Ltd.
Keyword(s): Clay Tobacco Pipe Manufacture, Bone, Burial, Iron Objects Glass, Pottery, Human Remains, Catholic Church
Period(s): Medieval, Roman
Location(s): NGR: NT 2711 7616
ISBN: 0 903903 58 5
Artefactual, environmental and archaeological evidence from the Holyrood Parliament Site excavationsVol 40 (2010)
Artefactual, environmental and archaeological evidence from the Holyrood Parliament Site excavations
Summary: A summary of these specialist reports (Parts 1 and 2) was published in 2008 in the monograph on the Holyrood Parliament Site Project: Scotland's Parliament Site and the Canongate: Archaeology and History by the Holyrood Archaeology Project Team, Chapter 3.9 & 3.10 (HAPT 2008). Except for sections 3.9 and 3.10, Chapter 3 in that monograph has been repeated here as Part 3, in order to provide the archaeological context for the artefactual and environmental evidence alongside the specialist reports.
Keyword(s): Ash, Coal Ash, Midden
Period(s): Medieval, Prehistoric, Bronze Age, Mesolithic
Location(s): NGR: NT 26664 73847
ISBN: 0 903903 66 0
Volumes 20-39 Volumes 20-39
The Excavation of an Early Bronze Age Burnt Mound at Arisaig, Lochaber, HighlandVol 39 (2009)
The Excavation of an Early Bronze Age Burnt Mound at Arisaig, Lochaber, Highland
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Michael Cressey, Clare Ellis, Karen Clarke, Leeanne Whitelaw
Summary: During the upgrading of the A830(T), the 'Road to the Isles', the remains of a disturbed burnt mound deposit were discovered and later excavated during September and October 2005 by CFA Archaeology Ltd. This is the first such feature to have been excavated in this part of the Highlands.
The burnt mound was discovered lying partly below a modern field bank on the edge of Arisaig during a trial trenching evaluation. Excavation demonstrated that the feature was formed in an active fluvial environment and that, despite the rural and boggy location, it had suffered considerable damage since its formation, caused by both the fluvial action of the adjacent stream and by a field drain. No evidence was found for either a hearth or a formal trough. The implication of a small assemblage of local quartz from within the burnt material is discussed. The charcoal assemblage is compared to spectra of pollen from contemporary deposits of peat in the area. Studies of the nature and origin of the burnt material via the results of soil magnetic susceptibility and thin-section analyses are presented. Six radiocarbon dates from three associated contexts span the period from 2550 to 1900 BC and suggest the burnt mound accumulated during the Early Bronze Age.
Keyword(s): Burnt Mound, Charcoal, Hearth, Pollen, Trial Trenching Evaluation, Field Drain, Radiocarbon Dates, Field Bank, Mound
Period(s): Early Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NM 6667 8650
ISBN: 0 903903 59 2
Gazetteer of Arran Pitchstone Sources: presentation of exposed pitchstone dykes and sills across the Isle of Arran, and discussion of the archaeological relevance of these outcropsVol 38 (2009)
Gazetteer of Arran Pitchstone Sources: presentation of exposed pitchstone dykes and sills across the Isle of Arran, and discussion of the archaeological relevance of these outcrops
Summary: The main element of the present paper is a gazetteer of exposed pitchstone sources across the Isle of Arran. In the paper's final chapter, the archaeological relevance of these outcrops is discussed. The gazetteer includes approximately 100 pitchstone sources, and the authors hope that it will become a useful tool to prehistorians working on and outwith Arran, thus adding to our understanding of how pitchstone was perceived, exchanged and used in northern Britain. In general terms, the gazetteer should provide a more rigorous basis for archaeological and geological assessment of pitchstone artefacts and sources.
Location(s): NGR: NR 970 407; NR 958 394
ISBN: 0 903903 60 8
The Archaeology of the Streets of North Berwick and Implications for the Development of the BurghVol 37 (2009)
The Archaeology of the Streets of North Berwick and Implications for the Development of the Burgh
Contributor(s): Julie Franklin
Summary: Replacement and upgrading of the mains water system in North Berwick provided an opportunity to identify and record deposits and structures across the core of the medieval burgh. The methods of trench excavation used meant that archaeological features were largely only seen in section, however, a large amount of information about the development of the burgh, and its layout, was collected despite this. Over much of the central core of the medieval burgh, layer upon layer of occupation deposits and more mixed material were interspersed with obvious inundations of wind-blown sand. The existence of a rough surface running east-west along much of the High Street could suggest that this is the more likely candidate for the earliest focus for the burgh, rather than the north/south running Quality Street further to the east. Road surfaces were also seen along East Road, running out of the town. The density of occupation deposits markedly lessened along Westgate, the continuation of the High Street, indicating the limits of the medieval core. A number of structures were also identified, including a wall at the east of the town that may represent the town wall, or at least define the limit of settlement to the east. The data collected from the watching brief will allow better assessments for future planning decisions, and also shows the importance of archaeological monitoring of this type of construction work.
Keyword(s): Settlement, Wall, Watching Brief
Period(s): Medieval, Post-medieval
ISBN: 0 903903 63 9
STAC: The Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign - investigation of stack sites of the Isle of Lewis 2003-2005Vol 36 (2009)
STAC: The Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign - investigation of stack sites of the Isle of Lewis 2003-2005
Contributor(s): Ann MacSween, Jo McKenzie, Susan Ramsay, Catherine Smith
Summary: The STAC (Severe Terrain Archaeological Campaign) project conducted topographic and archaeological surveys of sea stacks and other cliff-bound coastal sites around the Isle of Lewis over three annual field seasons from 2003-2005. The project made use of a specialised access system called 'Industrial Rope Access', which proved to be both a safe and a practical way of achieving archaeological research in such places. The first part of this report details the formation and methods of the STAC project, and discusses some relevant geographical issues. The second part presents the results of the eleven site surveys. One of these sites, Dunasbroc, was thought to be particularly vulnerable to erosion and was subject to small-scale excavation, the results of which form the third part of the report.
Keyword(s): Brunary Burn Structures, Blockhouse, Walls, Drystone Rectangular Wall
ISBN: 0 903903 67 7
Angus McEachen's house: the anatomy of an early 19th-century crofting settlement near ArisaigVol 35 (2009)
Angus McEachen's house: the anatomy of an early 19th-century crofting settlement near Arisaig
Contributor(s): Sue Anderson
Summary: This report presents the results of an excavation and historical study of an early 19th-century settlement at Brunary Burn near Arisaig, Highlands (NGR: NM 6770 8578). CFA Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation during October 2005 in advance of the realignment and upgrading works of the A830 between Fort William and Arisaig. Two rectangular drystone buildings were excavated, along with a yard area between them. Artefacts recovered included pottery, iron tools, cauldron fragments, slate roofing and clay pipe fragments. The project provided an opportunity to bring together social historical research with archaeological evidence for a somewhat archaeologically under-studied period, and also identified the former inhabitants of the settlement as Angus McEachen and his extended family. The buildings appear to have been occupied for perhaps a single generation before the family was evicted and moved to new accommodation within the area.
Keyword(s): Pottery, Iron Tools, Cauldron Fragments, Slate, Artefacts, Settlement, Clay Pipe Fragments
Period(s): Medieval, Nineteenth Century
Location(s): NGR: NM 6770 8578
ISBN: 0 903903 62 2
Two prehistoric short-cists and an early medieval long-cist cemetery with dug graves on Kingston Common, North Berwick, East LothianVol 34 (2009)
Two prehistoric short-cists and an early medieval long-cist cemetery with dug graves on Kingston Common, North Berwick, East Lothian
Contributor(s): Paul Duffy, Adam Jackson, John Lawson, Ann MacSween, Graeme Warren, George Mudie, Kevin Hicks, Leeanne Whitelaw
Summary: Human remains were discovered during the laying of a water pipe to service the refurbished Fenton Tower at Kingston, near North Berwick, in 2001. Two short-cist burials, thirty-eight long-cist burials and bank-defined terraces containing dug graves and a possible chapel (NT58SW 152) were found. It is suggested that three main periods of burial are represented, spanning the Neolithic to the early second millennium AD.
Keyword(s): Burial, Longcist Cemetery, Chapel, Human Remains, Graves, Burials
Period(s): Medieval, Neolithic, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: NT 544 823
ISBN: 0 903903 65 3
A social history of 19th-century farm workers and their families, at Jack's Houses, Kirkliston, MidlothianVol 33 (2009)
A social history of 19th-century farm workers and their families, at Jack's Houses, Kirkliston, Midlothian
Contributor(s): S Anderson, M Cressey, G Haggarty, R Murdoch
Summary: The remains of two 19th-century row cottages and associated structures and deposits were discovered at Jack's Houses, near Kirkliston. Nearby agricultural remains included a field system with boundary walls, drains and a draw well. A large rubbish dump containing pottery and ceramics has been interpreted as urban waste imported to the site to be added to the land in order to break up the clay soil for cultivation. A historical study undertaken in combination with the archaeological work afforded a view into the lives of the transient agricultural labourers and their families who occupied the houses over a century. The combined disciplines have provided us with a rare insight into a part of rural social history from the early-mid 19th to the early 20th centuries.
Keyword(s): Cottages, Field System, Ceramics, Pottery, Boundary Walls Drains, Farm Workers, Rubbish Dump, Ceramics, Animal Bone
Period(s): Modern, Nineteenth Century
Location(s): NGR: 12357540
ISBN: 0 903903 64 6
Archaeology of Landscape Change in South-West Scotland, 6000 BC - AD 1400excavations at William Grant and Sons Distillery, GirvanVol 32 (2008)
Archaeology of Landscape Change in South-West Scotland, 6000 BC - AD 1400excavations at William Grant and Sons Distillery, Girvan
Contributor(s): Ewan Campbell, John Duncan, Jennifer Miller, Susan Ramsay, Catherine Smith, Eland Stewart, John Arthur, Caitlin Evans, Charlotte Francoz
Summary: Between 1996 and 1998, Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook a programme of archaeological investigation at the headquarters of William Grant and Sons Distillers Ltd, Girvan. The work revealed evidence of occupation and use from prehistoric times, including palaeobotanical and pedological evidence of deliberate prehistoric tree clearance, and the presence of six discrete deposits of burnt mound material. The project also confirmed the survival of archaeological deposits relating to the occupation of the medieval moated enclosure of Ladywell. A number of worked lithics, indicative of prehistoric tool making or maintenance, were also recovered.
The excavation and post-excavation work allowed an opportunity to explore the occupational, ecological and geomorphological history of the entire length of the valley, from the immediate post-glacial period to the present day. The results contribute significantly to our understanding of the changing patterns of human interaction with environment and landscape over a period of some 10,000 years, both in the immediate area and beyond.
Keyword(s): Moated Enclosure, Pedological, Burnt Mound Material, Pottery, Animal Bone
Period(s): Medieval, Prehistoric, Mesolithic
ISBN: 0 903903 98 1
Mesolithic and later sites around the Inner Sound, Scotland the work of the Scotland's First Settlers project 1998-2004Vol 31 (2009)
Mesolithic and later sites around the Inner Sound, Scotland the work of the Scotland's First Settlers project 1998-2004
Contributor(s): Ann MacSween, Michael Cressey, James Barrett, Kevin Edwards, Patrick Ashmore, Andrew Heald, Nyree Finlay, Nicky Milner, Rick Schulting, Robert Shiel, Alastair Dawson, Susan Dawson, Phil Austin, Stuart Campbell, Anthony Newton, Rachel Parks, A Isbister, L McAllan, Fraser Green, Ann Clarke, Fraser Hunter
Summary: Scotland's First Settlers comprised a survey project to locate and examine sites relating to the earliest, Mesolithic, settlement of the Inner Sound, along the coastlands between Skye and the west coast of Scotland. Particular foci of interest included the existence and nature of midden sites, the use of rockshelters and caves, and the different types of lithic raw material in use. In addition, information relating to the human use of the area up to the present day was recorded. Fieldwork took place over five years between 1999 and 2004: the entire coastline of the Inner Sound together with its islands was walked; 129 new archaeological sites were recorded; 36 sites were shovel pitted; 44 test pitted; and one major excavation took place. Excavation at Sand has been particularly exciting as it has resulted in the analysis of a shell midden dating to the early-mid seventh millennium BC, the early Mesolithic of Scotland. This report comprises the results of survey and excavation work as well as detailed artefact reports, full information on ecofacts such as shell, and bone, and information on the development of the landscape and environment, including sea level change. Finally, the broad-scale coverage of the project has led to a number of discussion points that have much to offer further work, both within the area and further afield. Digital material associated with this project is available through Archaeology Data Service archive http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1000285 Scotland's First Settlers
Keyword(s): Lithic Raw Material, Shell Midden, Survey, Caves, Midden, Bone, Pottery, Animal Bone, Fish Bone
Location(s): Skye. NGR: 9430 4180
ISBN: 0 903903 61 5
Archaeological monitoring in the streets of Musselburgh: recent discoveriesVol 30 (2009)
Archaeological monitoring in the streets of Musselburgh: recent discoveries
Contributor(s): Julie Franklin, Elin Evertsson, Anna Faras-Pagowska
Summary: Archaeological monitoring of water mains renewal in Musselburgh has provided new information on the medieval and post-medieval development of the burgh, as well as adding to known information on the vicus of the Roman fort, the Newbigging pottery and the town mill lade. Activity associated with the Newbigging pottery seems to have extended further to the west than the boundaries of the pottery indicated on 19th-century maps of the town, while Roman remains associated with the vicus survive in places beneath the road surface of Inveresk Brae. However, while archaeological deposits related to the medieval burgh were located broadly where expected, they were fragmentary in comparison with similar deposits from pipeline monitoring schemes in Perth, North Berwick and Crail. The data from Musselburgh are in part less coherent due to the kinds of work monitored within the burgh core, but it is probable that they also reflect a lesser degree of preservation of archaeological deposits beneath the road surface. This is partly due to modern development, and partly due to the geographic situation of the burgh, which does not appear to have encouraged the formation of stratified deposits sealed by wind-blown sand, as in North Berwick, or the anaerobic preservation conditions prevalent within Perth.
Keyword(s): Town Mill, Fort, Archaeological Deposits, Pottery, Midden, Settlement
Period(s): Medieval, Roman
ISBN: 0 903903 99 8
A Bronze Age burial from Pabay Mor, Isle of Lewis, Western IslesVol 29 (2009)
A Bronze Age burial from Pabay Mor, Isle of Lewis, Western Isles
Contributor(s): Paul Duffy, Gavin MacGregor, Beverley Ballin-Smith
Summary: In 2002 human remains were reported eroding from a section of sandy cliff on the eastern side of the island of Pabay Mor, Isle of Lewis. Subsequent excavation of the site was undertaken by GUARD, as part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call-off Contract. This revealed a burial of a mature male of approximately 50-59 years of age, placed in a grave adjacent to a marker stone. The burial was crouched and aligned north-south and accompanied by a small undecorated pot, a polished stone and a pumice polisher. A radiocarbon date of 1450-1290 cal BC (GU-13838) was obtained from human bone from the burial. A second, infant, individual, represented only by a fragment of mandible, was identified from disarticulated remains found at the burial.
The project has been funded by Historic Scotland.
Keyword(s): Human Remains, Bone, Mandible, Polished Stone, Grave, Burial
Period(s): Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: 1048 3795
ISBN: 0 903903 98 1
Early medieval settlement and ironworking in Dornoch, Sutherland excavations at The Meadows Business ParkVol 28 (2008)
Early medieval settlement and ironworking in Dornoch, Sutherland excavations at The Meadows Business Park
Contributor(s): Simon Chenery, Adrian Cox, Derek Hall, Mhairi Haistie, Catherine Smith
Summary: Monitoring and excavation during the development of a new business park in Dornoch in 1997 revealed numerous features including a building, ditched enclosures and several hearths, all sealed beneath an artefact-rich cultivation soil. Radiocarbon dates obtained place the main period of activity here in the late 1st millennium ad. The evidence recovered also suggests a tradition of ironworking here from the early medieval period continuing through into the medieval period. A small assemblage of finds was recovered from the excavation, including quantities of iron slag, bog iron ore, fragments from a clay-lined furnace, whale bone, a bone counter and a bone pin beater. This paper reports on the results of the work and includes an extended section on the analysis of the iron making and working evidence.
The post-excavation analysis and reporting of the results was funded by Historic Scotland.
Keyword(s): Building Ditched Enclosures, Settlement, Bone, Ironworking Evidence, Iron Slag Bog Iron, Bone Pin Beater
Period(s): Early Medieval
Location(s): NGR: NH 797 895
ISBN: 0 903903 97 4
Bruach An Druimein, Poltalloch, Argyll: excavations directed by the late Eric Cregeen, 1960-2Vol 27 (2008)
Bruach An Druimein, Poltalloch, Argyll: excavations directed by the late Eric Cregeen, 1960-2
Contributor(s): Beverley Ballin-Smith, Ewan Campbell, Camilla Dickson, Andrew Heald, Fraser Hunter, Jennifer Miller, Susan Ramsay, Jennifer Thoms, Graeme Warren, Bob Will
Summary: Rescue excavations in advance of gravel quarrying were carried out under the direction of the late Eric Cregeen from 1960 to 1962, at Bruach an Druimein, Poltalloch, Mid Argyll (NGR: NR 820 972). The site lies on one of the fluvio-glacial terraces which border the Kilmartin Glen, overlooking the lower ground, which has one of the densest concentrations of prehistoric funerary monuments in Britain. The excavations were carried out in difficult circumstances, with little good stratigraphy, and proved difficult to bring to publication. The present report is based on the substantial records created by Cregeen, including draft reports, and further working of the site archive by his sister, Sheila Cregeen.
The site had previously been identified as containing later prehistoric and Early Historic cist burials and a degraded bank. The main features of the excavated part of site were an enclosing ditch complex, and numerous post-holes and other occupation evidence within the ditch. Possible Neolithic/Bronze Age activity was indicated by lithic scatters and possible burnt mound material. Several Bronze Age cist-burials, also uncovered during the quarrying, have already been published. The main phase of occupation, as supported by a series of radiocarbon dates, lay in the later first millennium BC, the early Iron Age period. The post-holes were interpreted as belonging to at least two roundhouses, important as the first such structures identified in Atlantic Scotland, though common in eastern and southern Britain.
Evidence of cereal production of hulled six-row barley was abundant, but few artefacts could be confidently assigned to this phase, which was aceramic. Rare evidence of prehistoric woodland management in the form of hazel coppicing was deduced from the charcoal samples. The initial construction and use of the ditch complex was dated to this period, though it could have been re-utilized in the succeeding periods. There was a further significant phase of occupation in the Early Historic period. No certain structures were excavated, but series of intermittent patches of walling, and considerable spreads of artefacts and non-ferrous metalworking debris, suggested the presence of a craft-working area.
The finds ranged in date from the seventh to 10th century AD, contemporary with the main period of occupation of the important royal site of Dunadd, situated 4km to the south-east. Two beads and other finds indicated close contact between the two sites, and a motif piece showing Norse-style ornament is important as there is otherwise little evidence of Norse influence in this area. The nature of the Early Historic settlement remains unclear, with some evidence of ecclesiastic activity in the form of long-cist graves, an ogham inscription, and a Kil- placename. Later medieval activity in the area is indicated by a spread of medieval pottery in the ploughsoil, unusually including evidence of material imported from lowland Scotland and possibly the Continent. Finally, a standing stone was erected in the 19th century. The site is important in giving a rare glimpse of settlement activity on the low-lying land of the region, rather than the hilltop settlements and funerary monuments which have dominated our view of the Kilmartin Glen until now.
Keyword(s): Hazel Coppicing, Graves, Charcoal, Stone, Artefacts, Funerary, Ditch, Hulled Sixrow Barley, Cereal, Excavated, Gravel Quarrying, Metalworking, Settlement, Lithic Scatters, Early Historic Cist Burials, Cistburials, Pottery
Period(s): Iron Age, Bronze Age, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: NR 820 972
ISBN: 0 903903 96 7
Quartz technology in Scottish prehistoryVol 26 (2008)
Quartz technology in Scottish prehistory
Summary: The project Quartz Technology in Scottish Prehistory was initiated in the year 2000, and over the following five years a large number of quartz assemblages were examined from all parts of Scotland, and from all prehistoric periods. The general aim of the project was to shed light on quartz variability, that is, to define how quartz assemblages in different periods and areas of the Scottish quartz province (the north, north-west and Highland regions of Scotland) differ. Subsequently it was attempted to explain the observed variability, focusing on factors such as chronology, territoriality, access to lithic resources, technology and activity patterns. In the larger framework, the present paper forms part of international efforts to increase awareness of archaeological quartz as an important resource. It is hoped that the research put forward in this paper may prove useful to quartz researchers in other parts of the world.
Keyword(s): Blank Production Tool, Quartz Quarry
Period(s): Prehistoric, Iron Age, Palaeolithic
ISBN: 0 903903 94 3
Excavation of a Bronze Age funerary site at Loth Road, Sanday, OrkneyVol 25 (2007)
Excavation of a Bronze Age funerary site at Loth Road, Sanday, Orkney
Contributor(s): Ann Clarke, Ann MacSween, Julie Roberts, Diane Alldritt, Effie Photos-Jones
Summary: Excavations in 1991 beside Loth Road, Sanday, revealed a funerary site, including two cists, which contained cremated human bone, and several pits. The cremation burial in one of the cists was contained in a soapstone vessel. These features presented evidence for the sorting, selection and differential deposition of pyre remains. The cists and pits were surmounted by a kerbed cairn of unusual construction. Radiocarbon dates from the pits placed the site in the Early to Middle Bronze Age.
Keyword(s): Cremation Burial, Kerbed Cairn, Funerary, Cremated Human Bone, Vessel, Pits
Period(s): Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: HY 60553 34489
ISBN: 0 903903 95 4
Cist burials and an Iron Age settlement at Dryburn Bridge, Innerwick, East LothianVol 24 (2007)
Cist burials and an Iron Age settlement at Dryburn Bridge, Innerwick, East Lothian
Contributor(s): B Finlayson, H Cool, T Cowie, A Heald, F Hunter, D Ingemark, M Jay, J Roberts, A Sheridan, J Thoms
Summary: This report provides an account of the excavations of a cropmark enclosure and other prehistoric remains at Dryburn Bridge, near Innerwick in East Lothian. The excavations were directed over two seasons in 1978 and 1979 by Jon Triscott and David Pollock, and were funded by the Ancient Monuments Branch, Scottish Development Department. Features and artefacts of various periods were discovered during the excavations, including a Mesolithic chipped stone assemblage and pits associated with Impressed Ware pottery. A pair of distinctive burial cists dating to c2300-2000 cal BC was discovered, each containing two inhumations, one articulated and the other disarticulated; a Beaker vessel was found directly above one of the cists. By the mid first millennium cal BC a settlement had been founded on the site. Three successive settlement layouts can be interpreted from the excavated structures. The first two phases represent continuous occupation, dating to before 400 cal BC, and consisted of timber roundhouses, other rectangular structures and a small cemetery of pit graves located within a palisaded enclosure. The final occupation phase, which extended into the Roman Iron Age and may have occurred after a break in occupation, consisted of an unenclosed settlement of ring-ditch houses. Historic Scotland and predecessor bodies funded the post-excavation studies and publication of this report.
Keyword(s): Pit Graves, Artefacts, Cemetery, Timber Roundhouses, Burial Cists, Chipped Stone, Palisaded Enclosure, Beaker Vessel, Settlement, Pottery, Pits, Burials
Period(s): Iron Age, Roman, Mesolthic, Neolithic
Location(s): NGR: NT 7121 7686
ISBN: 0 903903 93 8
Excavations at Maybury Park, Edinburgh (1990-2)Vol 23 (2006)
Excavations at Maybury Park, Edinburgh (1990-2)
Contributor(s): Alison Sheridan, Alan Saville, Mhairi Hastie, Valerie Dean, Catherine McGill, Daniel Johnson
Summary: This paper presents the results of a series of excavations carried out by the City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service between 1990 and 1992 in advance of the Edinburgh Park development. Following a programme of test excavations, seven areas were opened up for excavation. Three of these contained significant archaeology dating to the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. The main findings included a Neolithic trackway, evidence for Bronze Age settlement and a large stone-built structure dating to the beginning of the first millennium AD.
Keyword(s): Trackway, Stonebuilt Structure, Settlement, Pit, Postholes, Ring Ditch
Period(s): Neolithic, Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NT178720
ISBN: 0 903903 92 X
Archaeological excavations in St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh, 1981-93Vol 22 (2006)
Archaeological excavations in St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh, 1981-93
Contributor(s): Derek Hall, George Haggarty, Pamela Graves, R Murdoch, Roderick McCullagh, Julie Franklin, Thomas Addyman, David Henderson
Summary: The report describes the results of excavations in 1981, ahead of development within the South Choir Aisle of St Giles' Cathedral, and subsequent archaeological investigations within the kirk in the 1980s and 1990s. Three main phases of activity from the 12th to the mid-16th centuries were identified, with only limited evidence for the post-Reformation period. Fragmentary evidence of earlier structural remains was recorded below extensive landscaping of the natural steep slope, in the form of a substantial clay platform constructed for the 12th-century church. The remains of a substantial ditch in the upper surface of this platform are identified as the boundary ditch of the early ecclesiastical enclosure. A total of 113 in situ burials were excavated; the earliest of these formed part of the external graveyard around the early church. In the late 14th century the church was extended to the south and east over this graveyard, and further burials and structural evidence relating to the development of the kirk until the 16th century were excavated, including evidence for substantive reconstruction of the east end of the church in the mid-15th century. Evidence for medieval slat-bottomed coffins of pine and spruce was recovered, and two iron objects, which may be ferrules from pilgrims' staffs or batons, were found in 13th/14th-century burials.
Keyword(s): Boundary Ditch, Ditch, Ecclesiastical Enclosure, Iron, Graveyard, Pine, Church, Slatbottomed Coffins, Burials
Location(s): NGR: NT 25727 73590
ISBN: 0 903903 91 1
Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie, AberdeenshireVol 21 (2006)
Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Andrew Heald, Fraser Hunter
Summary: Report on the excavation of a roundhouse and related structures dated by 14C to the first-second century AD. Internal details and building repairs allow some assessment of the structure of the building. The site also provides a well-dated context for a Guido class 13 glass bead, a type more common in isolated finds.
Keyword(s): Glass, Roundhouse, Hearths, Drainage System, Ploughing
Location(s): NGR: NJ 773 181
ISBN: 0 903903 90 3
Cramond Roman Fort: evidence from excavations at Cramond Kirk Hall, 1998 and 2001Vol 20 (2006)
Cramond Roman Fort: evidence from excavations at Cramond Kirk Hall, 1998 and 2001
Contributor(s): Fraser Hunter, Mhairi Hastie, Jeremy Evans
Summary: Excavation on the site of an extension to Cramond Kirk Hall has provided new evidence for the layout of the defences of the Roman fort, the route of the road immediately beyond it and for the phases of Roman military occupation at Cramond postulated by previous excavators. The features encountered included a broad right-angled ditch, possibly part of the outer defences, turning at this point to run parallel with the road into the fort. Three much slighter parallel ditches or gullies at the south end of the site are tentatively identified as drainage features beside the Roman road which, on this interpretation, would lie just beyond the limit of excavation. At a later date, the ditch had been allowed to silt up and features including pits and a stone box-drain were cut on a different alignment, through the fill of the earlier ditch; a well was also cut across two of the roadside ditches. These later features appear to represent encroachment of extramural settlement on the defences during the Severan occupation, at a time when a large defended annexe had been constructed to the east of the fort.
Keyword(s): Ditch, Stone, Settlement, Gullies, Defences, Pits, Fort, Point
Location(s): NGR: NT 1907 7685
ISBN: 0 903903 89 X
Volumes 1-19 Volumes 1-19
Excavation of a Bronze Age wicker container, Gearraidh na h'Aibhne, Isle of LewisVol 19 (2006)
Excavation of a Bronze Age wicker container, Gearraidh na h'Aibhne, Isle of Lewis
Contributor(s): Mark Holmes, Susan Ramsey, Jennifer Miller, Christopher Burgess, Gillian McSwan, John Arthur, - Northamptonshire Archaeology
Summary: An archaeological excavation was carried out at Gearraidh na h'Aibhne near Calanais on the Isle of Lewis by Northamptonshire Archaeology, working for Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) as part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call Off Contract. The site, initially interpreted as a cist potentially containing a bog body, was identified during annual peat cutting. Excavation demonstrated that the feature was in fact an oval pit containing a quantity of hazel branches, capped with a number of flat slabs of Lewisian Gneiss. Several similar stones had been placed in the base of the feature, overlying more hazel branches.
The observation of several branches placed vertically at the edges of the cut suggests that the wood remains may have originally constituted a wicker structure or basket. Further evidence of anthropogenic activity was identified in the form of bent and/or twisted hazel rods and cut marks on a larger piece of wood. Growth-ring analysis of the hazel pieces identified two distinct age clusters: a large group of pieces between five and seven years old and a smaller group between ten and 13 years old, indicating the hazel branches had been deliberately selected for size. Analysis of preserved botanical macrofossil remains indicated that heather type stems and Sphagnum moss might have been incorporated or deposited into the structure. Two radiocarbon dates of 1080-830 BC (SUERC-2086) and 1000-830 BC (SUERC-2087) at 2-sigma probability were obtained from two discrete samples of hazel, suggesting the structure was constructed and deposited during the Late Bronze Age.
Keyword(s): Radiocarbon, Wood Growthring Analysis, Sphagnum, Pit, Hazel, Bog Body, Hazel Pieces, Basket
Period(s): Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: NB 23333068
ISBN: 0 903903 88 1
The excavation of four caves in the Geodha Smoo near Durness, SutherlandVol 18 (2005)
The excavation of four caves in the Geodha Smoo near Durness, Sutherland
Contributor(s): James Barrett, Catherine Smith, Effie Photos-Jones, D Aldritt, Robert Squair, Ruby Cerón-Cerrasco
Summary: In response to the threat posed by marine and river erosion, a series of deeply stratified midden deposits was excavated in caves leading off a narrow, rock-cut inlet known as the Geodha Smoo, near Durness, Sutherland. These included the famous Smoo Cave (NGR: NC 4136 6714), at the southern end of the inlet; two smaller caves cut into the western wall of the inlet (Glassknapper's Cave and Antler Cave); and a fourth cave (Wetweather Cave) in the eastern wall. The majority of excavated deposits from these caves appear to relate to Viking/Norse or post-Norse activity, with fish bones, marine shells and mammal and bird bones representing the processing and consumption of marine and terrestrial foods. Possible evidence for metalsmithing in the form of iron slag and boat nails could suggest that boats were repaired in the sheltered inlet. Four radiocarbon dates from Smoo Cave and Glassknapper's Cave provide evidence for use of these sites between the eighth and 11th centuries AD. Convincing evidence for pre-Norse activity, although unsupported by radiocarbon dates, was recovered from Glassknapper's Cave in the form of probable Iron Age pottery, while late Neolithic pottery came from floor deposits in the Wetweather Cave.
Keyword(s): Wall, Terrestrial, Floor, Pottery, Iron Slag, Fish Bones Marine Shells, Boat Nails, Midden, Radiocarbon Dates
Period(s): Iron Age, Neolithic
Location(s): NGR: NC 4136 6714
Re-examination of the quartz artefacts from Scord of Brouster: a lithic assemblage from Shetland and its Neolithic contextVol 17 (2005)
Re-examination of the quartz artefacts from Scord of Brouster: a lithic assemblage from Shetland and its Neolithic context
Summary: In the late 1970s, a substantial quartz assemblage was recovered from the Neolithic settlement at Scord of Brouster, Shetland. At the time, bipolar technique (which is responsible for a substantial proportion of the assemblage), as well as quartz technology in general, were poorly understood, and it was not possible to fully make use of the assemblage in the interpretation of the site, the region, or the period. With our expanded understanding of bipolar approaches and quartz technology, this is now possible, and, in the present paper, the assemblage is re-examined, re-classified and re-interpreted. The quartz assemblage is used to gain a deeper insight into the site itself, and its lithic component and a first sketch of the territorial structure of Neolithic Scotland is presented.
Keyword(s): Flakes Indeterminate Pieces Blades, Microblades Cores Tools, Debitage, Tools Arrowheads Knives Scrapers Piercers, Fabricator, Cores, Lithics
Location(s): NGR: HU 2560 5165
The excavation of a mound and three cist burials at Ferndall, Rendall, OrkneyVol 16 (2005)
The excavation of a mound and three cist burials at Ferndall, Rendall, Orkney
Contributor(s): Gavin MacGregor, Tony Pollard, Jennifer Miller, Robert Will, Caitlin Evans, Susan Ramsey, Gillian McSwan, Jill Seivewright
Summary: As part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call Off Contract, Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook an archaeological excavation of an artificial mound and associated cists containing human remains of mid-Bronze Age date, at Ferndale, Rendall, Orkney. The excavation identified the presence of two cists containing cremation burials (cist 004 and cist 010), and a third that contained a poorly preserved inhumation (cist 003). Cists 004 and 010 would appear to be related to an artificially created mound, and parallel a number of similar 'barrow' sites from Orkney. Cist 004 contained an inhumation and was of differing construction. It would appear to relate to a different phase and tradition of cist burials. Analysis of skeletal material from cist 004 identified the remains of an older adult male, a female of between 18 and 30 years of age and an infant of 15 months. The adult male was found to have suffered from a bone infection of the femur and showed evidence of poor dental health. The female had suffered from iron deficiency anaemia. The preservation of skeletal material in cists 010 and 003 allowed only the identification of a single adult inhumation of unknown age and sex from each cist. The individuals from cists 004 and 010 had been cremated shortly after death, and analysis of associated soil residues suggests that their remains were subsequently picked from the pyre and washed. Radiocarbon dates from the cremated remains from cists 004 and 010 place the use of these two cists and construction of the associated mound in the first quarter of the second millennium BC. These dates are comparable to other dated cist burials in artificial mounds from Orkney, although it would appear to be one of the earlier sites in the currently available list of dates. Regrettably, a date could not be obtained from the poorly preserved inhumation from cist 003.
Keyword(s): Inhumation Cist, Mound, Cremation Burials Cist, Bone, Skeletal Material, Barrow, Excavation, Human Remains
Period(s): Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: HY 3836 2035
Early land-use and landscape development in ArisaigVol 15 (2005)
Early land-use and landscape development in Arisaig
Contributor(s): Caroline Wickham-Jones
Summary: Re-alignment of a 6km section of the A830 road in Arisaig provided an opportunity to investigate the archaeology of this poorly understood area of the West Highlands. A combination of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental techniques were used to investigate the road corridor. Archaeological survey, followed up by selected excavations, identified a previously unrecorded Bronze Age kerb cairn and two areas of shieling huts. Investigation of the shielings obtained evidence for repeated reuse of sites and reconstruction of structures through the medieval and post-medieval periods. In both cases, Bronze Age deposits were also recorded at the base of the medieval sequence. Analysis of a long peat core from a basin close to one of the shielings revealed a history of continuous but gradual decline in woodland, starting in about 3200 BC and continuing to the present day. Collation of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data from the present project and previous investigations in the area have allowed the creation of a tentative model of landscape evolution for Arisaig.
Keyword(s): Basin, Kerb Cairn, Palaeoenvironmental Data
Period(s): Medieval, Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: 6714 9054
People and their monuments in the Upper Clyde Valley:a programme of survey, field walking and trial excavation in the environs of the Blackshouse Burn Neolithic enclosure, South Lanarkshire, 1989--99Vol 14 (2005)
People and their monuments in the Upper Clyde Valley:a programme of survey, field walking and trial excavation in the environs of the Blackshouse Burn Neolithic enclosure, South Lanarkshire, 1989--99
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Caitlin Evans, John Arthur
Summary: This report sets out the results of a programme of topographic survey, geophysical survey, field walking and trial excavation, carried out in 1998-99 and funded by Historic Scotland, in and around an extensive upland prehistoric landscape in the Upper Clyde Valley. It was designed to build on the results of limited excavation of a large, late Neolithic enclosure at Blackshouse Burn, South Lanarkshire (centred at NGR NS 9528 4046) and preliminary survey of nearby monuments undertaken in the 1980s, and to identify and characterize prehistoric settlement in the adjacent valleys through field walking. Topographic survey of the enclosures at Blackshouse Burn, Meadowflatts and Chester Hill, and of hut circles, clearance cairns and a possible ring cairn on Cairngryffe and Swaites Hills, recorded a complex ritual and domestic landscape: evidence of the longstanding prehistoric occupation of the Pettinain Uplands. The geophysical survey of Chester Hill enclosure found traces of internal structures and quarry scoop, while geophysical survey of part of the large Blackshouse Burn monument and smaller adjacent enclosure found evidence for a curvilinear feature in the large enclosure and a possible screen in its entrance. The systematic examination of ploughed fields in the valleys to the west and south-west of the upland monument complex discovered several concentrations of lithics, most notably evidence of late Mesolithic tool production and late Neolithic to early Bronze Age tool production and domestic activity. Trial trenches excavated over a late Mesolithic cluster at Carmichael found a knapping floor and several structural features.
Keyword(s): Floor, Enclosures, Geophysical Survey, Cairns, Enclosure, Ritual, Settlement, Topographic Survey , Geophysical Survey
Period(s): Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: NS 9528 4046
Excavation of a Bronze Age kerbed cairn at Olcote, Breasclete, Near Calanais, Isle of LewisVol 13 (2005)
Excavation of a Bronze Age kerbed cairn at Olcote, Breasclete, Near Calanais, Isle of Lewis
Contributor(s): Kathleen McSweeney, Stephen Carter, Melanie Johnson, Graeme Warren, Paula Milburn, Michael Church
Summary: An archaeological excavation was carried out by the Centre for Field Archaeology (CFA) from October to December 1995 of a Bronze Age kerbed cairn at Olcote, Breasclete, Isle of Lewis (NGR: NB 2180 3475). The cairn was discovered by CFA during an evaluation of a dense scatter of worked and unworked quartz made by local archaeologists, Margaret and Ron Curtis. The remains lay in the path of the improvement of the single track road through Breasclete. A range of archaeological features and deposits was identified and recorded within the excavation trench. These fell into three groups on stratigraphic grounds: pre-cairn features, including pits, spade or cultivation marks and a buried ground surface; the cairn itself, including inner and outer kerbs, burnt peat deposits, a central cist and other features; and modern deposits which cut the cairn, including post-holes and field drains. Excavation and post-excavation were wholly funded by Historic Scotland.
Keyword(s): Postholes, Kerbed Cairn, Pits Spade, Cultivation Marks, Worked, Excavation, Central Cist
Period(s): Bronze Age, Mesolithic
Location(s): NGR: 2180 3475
Camas Daraich:a Mesolithic site at the Point of Sleat, SkyeVol 12 (2004)
Camas Daraich:a Mesolithic site at the Point of Sleat, Skye
Contributor(s): Ann Clarke, Michael Cressey, Kevin Edwards, Anthony Newton
Summary: The archaeological site of Camas Daraich (on the peninsula of the Point of Sleat, in south-west Skye) was revealed in November 1999 when stone tools were discovered in the upcast from a newly bulldozed track. Excavation took place in May 2000, directed by the authors and under the auspices of Historic Scotland, the Centre for Field Archaeology and the Department of Archaeology, University of Edinburgh. The excavations were small-scale and brief, but they demonstrated the survival of stratified features (scoops and a possible hearth) as well as an assemblage of nearly 5000 flaked lithics, comprising both tools and debris. There was no organic preservation, with the exception of burnt hazelnut shell. The composition of the lithic assemblage suggested that the excavated site was Mesolithic and this was confirmed by the radiocarbon determinations, which place it securely in the mid 7th millennium BC. Surface material suggested that there was evidence for more recent prehistoric (stone-tool-using) activity in the vicinity. Although the archaeological work at Camas Daraich was limited, the site is interesting for several reasons. First, it is one of a growing number of sites in the area with early dates for human settlement (until the mid 1980s dated Mesolithic evidence was lacking in the north of Scotland). Second, the lithic raw materials in use at Camas Daraich connect it firmly to a wider network of sites and provide conclusive evidence for human mobility. Third, further Mesolithic material is likely to survive at Camas Daraich so that the future well-being of the site is an important issue. Fourth, though there was no organic preservation, used pumice was recovered and this is rare on Mesolithic sites. Fifth, the lithics include both narrow-blade tools and conventionally broader/larger pieces and the relationship between these two traditions is still poorly understood in Scottish archaeology. Camas Daraich suggests that they may not be as clearly separated as previously thought.
Keyword(s): Stone Tools, Burnt Hazelnut Shell, Hearth, Settlement, Flaked Lithics, Debris
Period(s): Mesolithic, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: 567 000
ISBN: 0 903903 82 2
The worked quartz vein at Cnoc Dubh, Uig parish, Isles of Lewis, Western Isles: presentation and discussion of a small prehistoric quarryVol 11 (2004)
The worked quartz vein at Cnoc Dubh, Uig parish, Isles of Lewis, Western Isles: presentation and discussion of a small prehistoric quarry
Summary: In 2002, an examination was carried out of a small quartz vein at the knoll of Cnoc Dubh, a few hundred metres from the southern shores of Loch Ceann Hulabhig on the Isle of Lewis (NGR NB 2318 2998). The vein proved to have been worked in prehistoric time, defining it as a quarry, and it was measured, photographed and characterized. In the present paper, the Cnoc Dubh quartz quarry is presented in detail, to allow comparison with other lithic quarries, and it is attempted to define attributes diagnostic of prehistoric exploitation, and to schematically describe the 'mining operations' by which the quartz was procured. As part of this process,quartz quarrying is compared to the procurement of other lithic and stone raw materials, mainly drawing on research from Scandinavia, Australia and the USA, and the location of quartz quarries in relation to prehistoric settlements is discussed. The average distance between quartz sources and Neolithic - Bronze Age sites on Lewis is then used to discuss ownership of, and access to, prehistoric quartz sources, as well as the possible exchange of quartz.
Keyword(s): Lithics, Pottery, Quarry
Period(s): Prehistoric, Iron Age, Bronze Age, Neolithic
Location(s): NGR: NB 2318 2998
ISBN: 0 903903 80 6
Conservation and change on Edinburgh's defences:archaeological investigation and building recording of the Flodden Wall, Grassmarket 1998-2001Vol 10 (2004)
Conservation and change on Edinburgh's defences:archaeological investigation and building recording of the Flodden Wall, Grassmarket 1998-2001
Contributor(s): Colin Wallace, Jonathan Millar, Mike Middleton
Summary: This report presents the results of a historic building survey and archaeological watching brief undertaken between 1998 and 2001 during restoration work (undertaken as part of the Scottish Dance Base development) on the Flodden Wall running between Edinburgh's Grassmarket and Johnston Terrace. The Flodden Wall is the name given to the 16th-century extension of the capital's town defences, traditionally seen as having been constructed in the months following the defeat at Flodden in 1513. Prior to this project the extent and condition of this particular stretch of the Flodden Wall (the north-western boundary of the Grassmarket and a Scheduled Ancient Monument) was not fully understood. This project has shown that here the Flodden Wall and surrounding area had undergone three major phases of construction and redevelopment, from its origins in the early 16th century to the formation of a drying green (Granny's Green) to the west of the Wall in the late 19th century. In particular the results have demonstrated that the surviving southern section of the Wall here was largely rebuilt during the third quarter of the 18th century, when a complex of buildings was constructed along Kings Stables Road abutting the Wall's western face.
Keyword(s): Boundary, Building Survey, Defences, Ancient Monument, Wall
Period(s): Medieval, sixteenth century
Location(s): NGR: NT 252 733
Excavation of an Iron Age burial mound, Loch Borralie, Durness, SutherlandVol 9 (2004)
Excavation of an Iron Age burial mound, Loch Borralie, Durness, Sutherland
Contributor(s): Julie Roberts, Adrian Cox, Michael Donnelly, Caitlin Evans, John Arthur
Summary: As part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call Off Contract, Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) undertook an archaeological evaluation of the find spot of a human skull from a cairn at Loch Borralie, Sutherland (NGR NC 3790 6761). Excavation recovered the remains of two burials beneath the cairn and established that the cairn was multi-phased. One individual was an adult male (Skeleton 1), while the other was immature and of undeterminable sex (Skeleton 2). Both individuals showed signs of ill health, and dogs and/or rats appear to have gnawed their bones. A ring-headed pin was recovered close to Skeleton 1 during the excavation. A radiocarbon date was obtained from the left humerus of Skeleton 1 of 40 cal BC - cal AD210 at 2 sigma (OxA-10253). Excavation revealed that the cairn, broadly sub-rectangular in form, had a maximum height of 1.2m and was composed of large, sub-angular and sub-rounded rocks (including quartz and quartzite) and occasional rounded cobbles within yellow-orange sand. One inhumation, Skeleton 2, lay within an irregular grave, cut through the red brown sand that was sealed by the cairn and into the natural gravel sand below. The other inhumation, Skeleton 1, was sealed by the red brown sand and had been placed on a low primary cairn of stone and earth, the full extent and depth of which remains unknown. The tradition of extended inhumations within sub-rectangular cairns is a recognised funerary practice in the north of Britain during the first millennium AD. Many of these burials are generally considered to be Pictish in date, but Loch Borralie indicates that the tradition commenced in the Iron Age. There is increasing evidence for the variety of ways in which human remains were treated after death in the Iron Age, including cremations in re-used cists, single inhumations in graves and cists, multiple inhumations and the incorporation of human remains in 'domestic' contexts. The results of the excavation of the burial mound at Loch Borralie provide a useful addition to the range of mortuary and funerary rites which were practised during the Iron Age in Scotland.
Keyword(s): Pin, Cremations, Human Remains, Graves, Burial Mound, Inhumation, Mortuary, Excavation, Cairn, Funerary, Human Skull, Stone, Burials
Period(s): Iron Age
Location(s): NGR: NC 3790 6761
Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and ButeVol 8 (2003)
Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and Bute
Contributor(s): Jennifer Miller, Julie Roberts, Michael Donnelly, Gary Tompsett, Caitlin Evans
Summary: As part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call Off Contract, Glasgow Univ ersity Archaeological Research Division (GUARD)undertook an archaeological excavation of a prehistoric urned cremation deposit within a boulder shelter at Glennan, Kilmartin, Argyll and Bute (NGR NM86220097). Analysis has shown the cremation was of a male probably aged between 25 and 40 years. He had suffered from slight spinal joint disease, and mild iron deficiency anaemia, though neither seems likely to have affected his general health. He was cremated shortly after death, together with a young sheep/goat, and their remains were subsequently picked from the pyre and co-mingled before burial in the urn. An unburnt retouched flint flake was recovered which may have accompanied the burial. The closest parallels for the cremation container are found within the tradition of Enlarged Food Vessel urns, a tradition that is poorly dated but probably has a currency in the first half of the second millennium BC. Radiocarbon dating was problematic: a sample of heather-type charcoal from the fill of the urn was dated and provided a range of cal AD1260-1390 at 2 sigma (OxA-10281). A second date was obtained from a sample of hazel charcoal from the lowest part of the fill of the urn, which provided a range of 3370-2920 cal BC at 2 sigma (GU-9598). There are sufficient examples of animal bone previously found accompanying Bronze Age burials to suggest that animals may have had a role in mortuary rites before burial of human remains, though the role and status of these animal remains is not always clear. Although the sample is small, the evidence suggests that, depending on the burial rite, some species of animals were considered more appropriate than others for inclusion; pigs associated with inhumation and goat/sheep associated with cremation burials. The choice of a domesticated animal to accompany the mortuary rites may have been of significance during a period when agro-pastural farming was being widely practiced, and may reflect the perceived inter-relationship between the cultural landscape of people and their livestock. The context of deposition of an Enlarged Food Vessel urn at Glennan, in a boulder shelter in the uplands, provides an interesting contrast with the known deposition of Food Vessels focused on the valley floor at Kilmartin. It indicates that while many of the more visible ceremonial and funerary sites of the second millennium BC may focus on the floor of the glen, other parts of the landscape were also significant in terms of such activities.
POSTSCRIPT The cremated bone from the Glennan urn, that had previously given some problematic dates (Report Section 8) has now (March 2004) produced a result of 3615+/-35BP (GrA-24861). At 2130-1880 calBC (2-sigma), this is well within the range of dates for such Vase Urns. The author of SAIR 8 acknowledges the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for funding this radiocarbon date and the National Museums of Scotland Dating Cremated Bone Project (especially Dr Alison Sheridan) for organising it.
Keyword(s): Inhumation, Funerary Practices, Cremation Burials, Animal Bone, Charcoal, Mortuary, Glennan Urn, Ceremonial, Bone, Cremation, Boulder Shelter, Urn, Flint Flake
Period(s): Bronze Age, Neolithic, Prehistoric
Location(s): NGR: 86220097
Catpund: a prehistoric house in ShetlandVol 7 (2005)
Catpund: a prehistoric house in Shetland
Contributor(s): Torben Ballin, Camilla Dickson, Stephen Carter, Paul Sharman, John Arthur
Summary: A prehistoric house was excavated in advance of industrial quarrying at Catpund, Shetland. Although little of the internal stratigraphy of the house remained beneath a modern cabbage enclosure (planticrub), the form of the house survived. The artefacts found in and around the house indicate the domestic activities which took place there, and the farming methods employed in the vicinity. A thorough analysis of the artefactual evidence suggests that the house was in use some time during the middle to late Bronze Age. This report considers the structural and environmental evidence for the house together with discussions on its form, the distribution of artefacts and dating.
Keyword(s): Enclosure, Artefacts, Bone, Vessel, Leather
Period(s): Prehistoric, Bronze Age
Location(s): NGR: HU 4242 2725
ISBN: 0 903903 76 8
Resistivity imaging survey of Capo Long Barrow, AberdeenshireVol 6 (2003)
Resistivity imaging survey of Capo Long Barrow, Aberdeenshire
Contributor(s): Graeme Warren, George Mudie
Summary: Non-invasive fieldwork carried out on the Neolithic long barrow at Capo, present-day Aberdeenshire (NGR NO 633 664) has considerably enhanced our knowledge of this monument. Topographical survey has provided the first detailed record of the barrow and its environs. Resistivity imaging has revealed key elements of the structure of the long barrow, including side revetment walls, a flat façade and possible mortuary structures, confirming that the barrow at Capo is of a similar morphology to the nearby (excavated) long barrow at Dalladies. The resistivity survey has demonstrated that rabbit burrowing and the roots of the tree stumps that covered the barrow have had little effect on the integrity of the major structural elements of the monument (the revetments and façade). However, it is not possible to assess the more subtle damage, such as mixing of archaeological layers, which may have been caused. It is concluded that, whilst resistivity imaging at the survey density employed here is time-consuming and would not be appropriate at many sites, as a management tool and as a means to explore sites that are unavailable for excavation, such as scheduled ancient monuments, it has been demonstrated to be of considerable value.
Keyword(s): Long Barrow, Resistivity Survey, Mortuary Structures, Pottery
Period(s): Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval
Location(s): NGR: NO 633 664)
A Later prehistoric house and Early Medieval buildings in Northern Scotland: excavations at Loch Shurrery and Lambsdale Leans, Caithness, 1955, with a note on Lower DounreayVol 5 (2003)
A Later prehistoric house and Early Medieval buildings in Northern Scotland: excavations at Loch Shurrery and Lambsdale Leans, Caithness, 1955, with a note on Lower Dounreay
Contributor(s): Ewan Campbell, Gordon Cook, Janet Hooper, L Wells, Colin Wallace, Jim Rideout
Summary: Two rescue excavations at the northern edge of a rather sparsely occupied part of the interior of Caithness are reported here, lying near to one of the largest clusters of archaeological sites in the modern county. In the event, the monuments were not threatened, and survive.
Because of the limited nature of the excavation at Loch Shurrery (NGR ND 043568),the main value of the evidence about the hut circle relates to its structure and dating. The excavated remains represented a medium-sized oval house with a west-facing entrance. It had an off-centre hearth of rectangular construction. It was rather different in structure to the majority of the small group of such sites which have been excavated in the northern part of the Scottish mainland, as it did not appear to have an internal ring of post holes. In addition, its western entrance is not matched at the other sites, where entrance orientations are to the south, east or south-east. The wall of the Loch Shurrery house was fairly thick and the excavation suggested that it was complex, while the entrance passageway was quite long. The existence of door checks is also an unusual feature and may relate to the entrance structures of brochs and other substantial roundhouses. Two samples of charcoal from the hearth inside the hut circle were submitted for radiocarbon dating: the determinations produce calibrated ranges (at 2-sigma) of 346-4 cal BC and 341 cal BC-1 cal AD. It is likely that most of the excavated, undecorated pottery is also Iron Age, part of a broad tradition of very coarsely tempered pottery. Not-withstanding evidence of extended occupation, the whole period of construction and occupation may have occurred within the Iron Age.
The mound of Lambsdale Leans (NGR ND 051548)lies in Reay parish, situated on low-lying ground at the head of Loch Shurrery and close to where its main tributary (the Torran Water) enters the loch from the south. The main characteristics of the this partially-excavated site are the presence of what appeared to be two extended inhumations and the remnants of possible structures associated with several layers of burnt material. Lambsdale Leans itself was a natural mound, of elongated shape and composed largely of sand, into which were set the burials and structural remains. The burials (one certainly female, the other probably so) were not in cists. The structural remains, while not fully excavated, accord well with the general tenor of the available evidence of later first millennium AD buildings in the north of Scotland. Both structures at Lambsdale Leans had floors comprising roughly laid paving, edged with upright slabs, and with an outer kerb of stones. The earliest-dated pottery sherds, unstratified, are from a single grass- tempered handmade vessel whose form cannot be determined. Overall,on one interpretation the Lambsdale Leans evidence favours a context within the Early Medieval period in Caithness. The pottery however, being mostly C12-C13 oxidised wheel-thrown vessels, can be seen to support the suggestion that occupation on the site may have begun in the Medieval period.
Keyword(s): Charcoal, Floors, Mound, Wall, Pottery, Burials, Ring Of Post Holes, Vessels, Hearth
Period(s): Prehistoric, Iron Age, Iron Age
Location(s): NGR: ND 043568; ND 051548
Survey at Earl's Bu, Orphir, Orkney 1989-91: geophysical work on a Late Norse Estate ComplexVol 4 (2003)
Survey at Earl's Bu, Orphir, Orkney 1989-91: geophysical work on a Late Norse Estate Complex
Summary: The various campaigns of geophysical survey at The Earl's Bu and its environs have added to the body of information known about the site (the early 12th-century seat of Earl Haakon Paulsson, with a round church, a large hall, a Late Norse midden and an earlier horizontal mill), confirming both considerable disturbance and potential structural traces. A separate print publication (Batey 2003), to which this particular SAIR is an adjunct, reviews the interventions made at the site up to the late 1930s.
In some cases, the surveys have raised more questions than they have answered, particularly about some putative burnt mounds (or stone-dense midden spreads or similar anomalies). The geophysical survey has also indicated a number of features which may represent early excavation trenches. While it is often impossible to be definitive in the interpretation of geophysical anomalies, especially in Scottish contexts where geological conditions can be unhelpful in the application of archaeological geophysical survey, interpretation must be an informed process. In the case of the environs of the Earl's Bu, if it were not for the excavations that were being run concurrently with the surveys, and the excellent and rapidly-published research of others working in the Northern Isles, that interpretative process would have been far more difficult. The report concludes that more excavation of geophysical anomalies is required; the next logical stage is to excavate prior to the laying-out of the site for comprehension by the visiting public.
Keyword(s): Geophysical Survey, Midden, Round Church, Burnt Mounds, Horizontal Mill
Period(s): Late Norse
Location(s): NGR: HY 3346 0442
Bronze Age farms and Iron Age farm mounds of the Outer HebridesVol 3 (2003)
Bronze Age farms and Iron Age farm mounds of the Outer Hebrides
Contributor(s): Geoffrey Collins, Lisbeth Crone, Alan Duffy, Andrew Dugmore, Nyree Finlay, Will Forbes, Annemarie Gibson, Paul Halstead, Kenneth Hirons, Heather James, Andrew Jones, Glynis Jones, Frances Lee, Daragh Lehane, Ann MacSween, Antoinette Mannion, Ian D Mate, Roderick McCullagh, S P Moseley, Anthony Newton, Chris Pain, Alix Powers, James Rideout, William Ritchie, E Scott, Dale Serjeantson, Andrea Smith, Nigel Thew
Summary: Hebridean sites of the coastal sand cliffs and associated machair, or sandy plain have been known for many years. Artefacts and ecofacts of various types have long been collected from archaeological sites in the eroding sand-cliffs of the machairs of the Outer Hebrides. Early in 1983, personnel of the then Central Excavation Unit of Historic Scotland's predecessor revisited very nearly all of the coastal archaeological sites then known in the Long Isle, with the specific task of identifying those at immediate threat from coastal erosion and of assessing the feasibility of their excavation or preservation. Some 32 sites were seen to be undergoing active erosion; at nine of them preservation was not being pursued and excavation was feasible. These sites were of two morphotypes: sites exposed in roughly vertical sand-cliffs and sites exposed over relatively large horzontal areas of sand deflation. It was decided to examine one sand-cliff site along its exposed face. The site selected was Balelone in North Uist, its excavation designed to explore both the problems associated with the excavation of deep midden sites with complex stratigraphy and the not-inconsiderable problems of excavation in sand. In the light of the Balelone trial excavation, a new approach was called for. A structured approach aimed firstly at establishing the three-dimensional extent of the sites to be examined. Four sites were then sampled (the sand-cliff sites of Baleshare, on the island of the same name off the west coast of North Uist and Hornish Point, South Uist and the deflation sites of South Glendale, South Uist and Newtonferry, North Uist) within a rigorously-defined research framework.
The machair sites were formed by sand accretion, facilitated by human activities ranging from construction to refuse disposal and cultivation. Their formation was intermittent and they underwent episodes of major erosion, isolating the sites from the landscape mass of the machair sands. Despite their apparent wealth of suitable material, the dating of Hebridean coastal sites presents special problems. The strategy here was to provide a dating framework for the sequences on each site, from which the dates of archaeological significant structures and events could then be arrived at by extrapolation. Preliminary dates from the earliest and latest strata at Balelone spanned such a small period that a First Millennium BC date-range could be assigned. At Baleshare, the deposits investigated were chiefly later Bronze Age; following abandonment (roughly 200 radiocarbon years) of the Period I cultivated soil Period II represented extensive, manured, cultivated fields in the vicinity of a settlement now lost to the sea. As Period II went on. the settlement seems to have moved closer to the excavated area. After another hiatus of a minimum of 350 radiocarbon years, there were further cultivated plots and associated settlement of Iron Age date (Period III). By contrast, the site at Hornish Point (including successive wheelhouses and associated cultivation areas) is considered to be all of one - dynamic, Iron Age - period, lasting some 300 radiocarbon years (with potentially earlier structures unexcavated). A post-medieval blackhouse of characteristic Lewisian form had been cut into the settlement mound. The three dates from Newtonferry suggest that some Early Medieval activity took place at the site, while the bulk of the deposits date from the thirteenth-fourteenth centuries AD. At South Glendale, the radiocarbon dates indicate occupation sometime between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries AD; stratigraphically lower, fragmented and truncated remains were prehistoric, probably early Bronze Age.
Keyword(s): Animal Bone, Postholes, Midden, Stone Structure, Burial cairn, Pottery
Period(s): Bronze Age, Iron Age
The Origins of the Settlements at Kelso and Peebles, Scottish Borders: Archaeological excavations in Kelso and Floors Castle and Cuddyside/Bridgegate, Peebles by the Border Burghs Archaeology Project and the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust, 1983–1994Vol 2 (2003)
The Origins of the Settlements at Kelso and Peebles, Scottish Borders: Archaeological excavations in Kelso and Floors Castle and Cuddyside/Bridgegate, Peebles by the Border Burghs Archaeology Project and the Scottish Urban Archaeological Trust, 1983–1994
Contributor(s): Adrian Cox, Derek Hall, Catherine Smith, Paul Spoerry, Caroline Wickham-Jones, Dennis Gallagher, Barbara Ford, D Henderson, D Tarling, Amanda Crowdy, Brian Moffatt, Donald Bateson, G Armstrong, Eric Cadow, Frank Moran and Dave Munro
Summary: This is a report on archaeological work in two of Scotland's less well-known medieval burghs of Kelso and Peebles. The excavations at Wester Kelso/Floors Castle established that the original medieval burgh of Kelso or Wester Kelso was much further west than previously believed, being situated well inside the present Castle policies. That early settlement at Wester Kelso appears to have been abandoned in the 14th or 15th centuries, at the same time that the royal burgh of Roxburgh was deserted, probably as a result of the English occupation of Roxburgh Castle. The other settlement of Easter Kelso, near the abbey, survived and expanded northwards from the abbey along Roxburgh Street. The finding of a possible building terrace in Phase 1 at 13-19 Roxburgh Street indicates that settlement along the southern end of that street could date to as early as the 13th or 14th centuries. Combining the archaeological, cartographic and documentary evidence, it seems clear that 'Easter' Kelso, now Kelso, had expanded from the market area around the abbey northwards towards the Floors estate by the early 18th century.
The excavations in Peebles have provided important information on the origins of the settlement of the peninsular ridge between the Tweed and Eddleston Water. The results obtained from the excavations at the two sites in Peebles indicate that settlement of the ridge began in the 12th century, soon after the establishment of the royal castle and burgh by David I (1124-53). At both sites, after initial dumping of rubbish, possibly to raise the ground level to counter flooding, occupation, in the form of stone structures, can be dated to the 14th century at the latest, with probable earlier dumping of domestic refuse in the 12th and 13th centuries. The street of Bridgegate was apparently laid out in the 13th or 14th centuries when the excavated site was divided into three properties aligned on that street, two of which had stone buildings erected on them. Alternatively, Bridgegate may have been the initial focus of settlement on the east side of the Eddleston, providing the access route from the east into Old Town, where a pilgrimage centre had been established at the Cross Kirk in 1261, and the location of the tolbooth (Bridgegate Building 4) in it suggests that this street was originally more important than High Street. It is noteworthy that all eight medieval buildings excavated at the two Peebles sites were of stone construction. Peebles tolbooth, the civic centre of the burgh, is the only medieval tolbooth site in Scotland to have been excavated.
Keyword(s): Settlement, Pottery, Abbey, Plant remains, Animal remains, Castle
Location(s): NGR: 7268 3402; 7261 3408; 2520 4053; 2057 4051
ISBN: 0 903903 71 7
Dundrennan Abbey: archaeological investigation within the south range of a Cistercian house in Kirkcudbrightshire (Dumfries & Galloway), ScotlandVol 1 (2001)
Dundrennan Abbey: archaeological investigation within the south range of a Cistercian house in Kirkcudbrightshire (Dumfries & Galloway), Scotland
Contributors: Stephen Carter, Naomi Crowley, Andrew Dunn, Harry Kenward, Coralie Mills, Tanya O'Sullivan, Alan Radley, Dorothy Rankin, Robert Will, Geoquest Associates, David Connolly, Ruby Céron-Carrasco
Summary: The remains of the south-west corner of the 12th-century Cistercian abbey cloister at Dundrennan (National Grid Reference: NX 7492 4750) were cleared of rubble and 19th-century landscaping infill over four seasons of fieldwork in the early 1990s. Elements of the warming house, novice's day room, great drain and latrine block undercroft were revealed. Coupled with a short programme of geophysical survey and test-trenching, new evidence of the sequence of building for the abbey was revealed by excavation. The project was funded by Historic Scotland.
Keywords: Sewers, Ecclesiastical Architecture, Abbey, Geophyiscal survey, Fieldwork, Cistercian House, Block Undercroft, Cistercian Abbey Cloister, Gardens, Flooding, Cloister, Midden, Trial Trenches, Timber Buildings, Excavations, Sherds, Ceramic
Periods: medieval, late medieval, 12th century
Location: Kirkcudbrightshire (NGR: 7492 4750)