The excavation of a Bronze Age cemetery at Seafield West, near Inverness, Highland

Michael Cressey (Author)

Alison Sheridan (Author)

Ciara Clarke (Contributor)

Mike Church (Contributor)

Thea Gabra-Sanders (Contributor)

Jacqueline McKinley (Contributor)

Peter Northover (Contributor)

Graeme Warren (Contributor)

Crouched Inhumation Burials Grave, Stone Cist, Pit Graves, Mandible, Cremated Human Remains, Pits, Pit, Ringditch, Cist Cemetery, Vessel, Pyre Debris, Cemetery, Dog, Cremation Burial, Urn, Graves, Wood, Cattle Hide, Cremated Human Bone, Wooden Coffins, Inhumation Grave, Cemeteries, Barbed and tanged arrowheads
Bronze Age, Date To C 2000 Bc, Mesolithic


Excavations in 1996 in advance of a major commercial development at Seafield West revealed a Bronze Age cemetery. Inside a ring-ditch were two adjacent graves with wooden coffins, one a boat-shaped hollowed tree-trunk, the other plank-built. Both had probably contained crouched inhumation burials. Grave goods in the former included a bronze dagger of ‘Butterwick’ type whose scabbard of wood and cattle hide produced a date of 3385 ± 45 BP (1870–1520 cal BC at 2s), slightly later than expected; those in the latter included an ‘Irish Bowl’ Food Vessel, believed to date to c 2000 BC. Both items indicate links with Ireland. Also inside the ring-ditch were: a short stone cist; a pit containing cremated human remains accompanied by three burnt barbed-and-tanged arrowheads and a mandible fragment, probably of a dog or fox; and three pits, at least one of which might have been an inhumation grave. Outside, and to the east, was a second short stone cist with a Beaker; to the west, a cluster of truncated pit graves containing cremated human bone and pyre debris, and in one case the remains of an urn and accessory vessel. One of these pit graves, dated to 3360 ± 50 BP (1750–1510 cal BC at 2s), contained the remains of an adult with cut marks on the skull. The cemetery is around 700m from – and on the same gravel ridge as – the multi-phase site at Stoneyfield, Raigmore, whose later phases featured a cist cemetery and a pit with a Cordoned Urn cremation burial. Some residual lithic evidence for Mesolithic activity in the area was also recovered. 


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How to Cite
Cressey, M., Sheridan, A., Clarke, C., Church, M., Gabra-Sanders, T., McKinley, J., … Warren, G. (2004). The excavation of a Bronze Age cemetery at Seafield West, near Inverness, Highland. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 133, 47–84.

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