The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Crieff (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Excitement after prehistoric burial site found in new Crieff Primary School site

Archaeologists are ecstatic after uncovering a “really significant” Bronze Age burial site in Perthshire.

Arrowheads believed to date back to between 2,500BC and 800BC have already been found at the site of the new Crieff Primary School, and experts hope to unearth more historic items in forthcoming weeks.

One “definite” prehistoric burial site, known as a cursus — a Bronze Age ceremonial monument walkway — has been identified and archaeologists are hopeful there will be more finds to come.

Sarah Malone, a heritage officer with Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, told The Courier last night that archaeologists had been at the Crieff site since last year.

“We have been working at the site for a while and this is a really significant find,” she said.

“We have identified one definite prehistoric Bronze Age burial site here and will probably find more items.

“Last year we discovered Bronze Age arrowheads and some kists.”

Ms Malone said that archaeologists were still excavating at the Crieff site and confirmed it is part of a “Bronze Age landscape”.

“It is quite exciting,” she added.

Local historian Colin Mayall said: “That whole area is a site of great historical interest. It is the site of more than one cursus, which can date back some 6,000 years.

“Cursus are now regarded as a type of sacred walkway, with earthen walls which could have extended for miles.

“More recently it was also the ancient site of the Stayt of Crieff, where the Earls of Strathearn held their courts.

“I feel these finds are all relevant, not just in a local sense but on a national and, indeed, international archaeological stage.”

Perth and Kinross Council confirmed that excavations are currently taking place.

“Archaeological works being carried out on the site for the new Crieff Primary School have indicated the presence of what are believed to be prehistoric burials — potentially from the early Bronze Age,” a council spokesperson said.

“Further assessment of the site to confirm these initial findings is ongoing at present.”
moss Posted by moss
18th April 2014ce

Salt Knowe (Round Barrow(s))

Pesky rabbits

This has been fenced off. April 10th Radio Orkney had an item about the protection (they have now also covered it with matting owing to rabbit damage) but don't say whether still accessible to the public. Fence visible on this pic latest pic, Salt Knowe on the left
wideford Posted by wideford
10th April 2014ce

Scotland (Country)

Earliest evidence of the presence of humans in Scotland found in South Lanarkshire

From Historic Scotland:

9 April 2014 Archaeologists have uncovered the earliest evidence of the presence of humans in Scotland it was announced today.

An assemblage of over 5,000 flint artefacts was recovered in 2005-9 by Biggar Archaeology Group in fields at Howburn, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, and subsequent studies have dated their use to 14,000 years ago. Prior to the find, the oldest evidence of human occupation in Scotland could be dated to around 13,000 years ago at a now-destroyed cave site in Argyll.

Dating to the very earliest part of the late-glacial period, Howburn is likely to represent the first settlers in Scotland. The flint tools are strikingly close in design to similar finds in northern Germany and southern Denmark from the same period, a link which has helped experts to date them.

The new findings were revealed today (9th April) by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in her speech at the Institute for Archaeologists’ annual conference, which is this year taking place in Glasgow. The definitive findings will be published next year in a report funded by Historic Scotland.

During her speech, the Cabinet Secretary announced over £1.4 million of funding for more than 60 projects in 2014/15 through Historic Scotland’s annual Archaeology Programme, and launched the first Scottish Historic Environment Data (SHED) Strategy, which aims to create a collaborative national public information resource for the historic environment.

The hunters who left behind the flint remains at Howburn came into Scotland in pursuit of game, probably herds of wild horses and reindeer, at a time when the climate improved following the previous severe glacial conditions. Glacial conditions returned again around 13,000 years ago and Scotland was once again depopulated, probably for another 1000 years, after which new groups with different types of flint tools make their appearance.

Fiona Hyslop said: “Our heritage helps us to connect our past, present and future. It reveals stories about where we’ve come from and who we are, and helps us to reflect on who we could be. The discovery of the earliest physical evidence of human occupation in Scotland is hugely exciting, in part because it offers us a very tangible link to the past and a physical reminder of the people who came before us.”

The nature of the physical connections made between the peoples in Scotland, Germany and southern Denmark is not yet understood. However the similarity in the design of the tools from the two regions offers tantalising glimpses of connections across what would have been dry land, now drowned by the North Sea.

Alan Saville, President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Senior Curator, Earliest Prehistory at the National Museums of Scotland and a specialist in the study of flaked flint and stone tools said: “These tools represent a real connection with archaeological finds in north-west Germany, southern Denmark and north-west Holland, a connection not seen elsewhere in Britain at this time. This discovery is both intriguing and revolutionises our ideas about where humans came from in this very early period. In southern Britain, early links are with northern France and Belgium. Howburn is just one chance discovery and further such discoveries will no doubt emerge.”
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
9th April 2014ce

County Galway

Log boat dating back 4,500 years found in Lough Corrib

A 4,500-year-old log boat is among 12 early Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval craft that have been located in Lough Corrib, along with several Viking-style battle axes and other weapons.
The vessels were discovered by marine surveyor Capt Trevor Northage while mapping the western lake to update British admiralty charts.
Investigative dives were subsequently carried out last summer by the underwater archaeology unit (UAU) of the National Monuments Service, and radiocarbon dating of samples was then conducted.

ryaner Posted by ryaner
9th April 2014ce

Lordenshaw (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Vandals damage ancient monument in Northumberland

From The Journal online:
The damage was reported at 11am on Saturday, after names were carved into the historic rock art at Lordenshaw in Rothbury, Northumberland
Full article here
Hob Posted by Hob
9th April 2014ce

Northumberland (County)

National recognition for Northumberland ancient history

From The Journal online:

Seventeen of the mysterious cup and ring carvings in Northumberland have been scheduled as Ancient Monuments by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport following advice from English Heritage.

Examples in the North East of some of the earliest art in Britain have won national recognition.
Seventeen of the mysterious cup and ring carvings in Northumberland have been scheduled as Ancient Monuments by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport following advice from English Heritage, drawing on the work of volunteers in the region.
At Ketley Crag, near Chatton, the stone base of a rock shelter has been extensively carved with a complex and fluid range of motifs, complete with well preserved pick marks made by the instrument used to make the carvings.
Some of the other rock art sites added to the National Heritage List for England are a panel at Whitsunbank and a group of panels in Buttony, near Doddington Moor, displaying a variety of carvings ranging from cups and rings to the more unusual circular grooves and rosette forms.

The artivle also displays also a top notch photo of Ketley Crag by TMA's Rockartwolf and a shot of Stan The Man to whom the vast majority of the credit for this good news must go.

Full article here
Hob Posted by Hob
8th April 2014ce

Stonehenge and its Environs

Stonehenge Neolithic Houses Latest

The Stonehenge Neolithic Houses - Latest pictures and background links

An English Heritage experimental archaeology project to build houses from 2500 BC at Stonehenge.

Follow their blog on twitter for updates! -

and get the whole story on wordpress -
Chance Posted by Chance
8th April 2014ce


Cremated bones of Bronze Age tumour sufferer found hanging from Scottish cliff

A cist burial spotted hanging from a cliff on the edge of Scotland came from the ceremony of a Bronze Age adult cremated swiftly after their death, say archaeologists investigating the bones of a body whose skull carried a tumour.

Cracks and warping of the remains, which belonged to someone of indeterminate gender, suggest the body was still fleshed when it was cremated in a service accompanied by a tonne of burning wood.

The bones were secured in a daring rescue mission on the eroding face of a sand cliff at Sannox, on the Isle of Arran, where experts used a mechanical cherry picker and balanced on harnesses to remove two cists.

“All the bone was uniformly white and in a similar condition, which is evidence for a hot cremation pyre reaching temperatures in the order of 650 to 950 degrees,” says Iraia Arabaolaza, who led the team responsible for the excavation.

“It is likely that the cremation occurred soon after death.

“The smaller average weight of the bones in this cist, as well as the absence of axial [head and trunk] bones, is a common trait in some Bronze Age cremations.

“The lack of remains such as substantial amounts of charcoal associated with a pyre also reinforces the idea of a selected burial.”

Some of the bones may have been kept back or lost to erosion on the cliff.

Arabaolaza says a mysterious green stain, examined once the team had moved the remains to Glasgow, could be copper – demonstrating poor preservation conditions.

A food vessel and a sharp knife, made with Yorkshire flint and found with the body, served both as tools and grave goods.

“Although the burial customs of the Scottish early Bronze Age varied greatly, across the period as well as from region to region, scale-flaked and plano-convex knives clearly represent an important tool,” says Torben Bjarke Ballin, a lithic expert from the University of Bradford.

“Flint knives frequently formed part of the period’s burial goods.

“The Scottish scale-flaked and plano-convex knives are most likely to also be sickles, and they probably carried out the same work as the crescent-shaped sickles of southern Britain.

“Although the piece from Sannox Quarry does not have any gloss, small flat chips were detached along its edge, indicating that it had been used prior to deposition in the cist.”

Beverley Ballin Smith, an archaeology researcher who works with National Museums Scotland, says the water-damaged vessel is unusual.

“In the suite of Bronze Age funeral ceramics, food vessels are not as common as beakers and urns and are less well known,” she explains.

“In mainland Scotland, they are frequently associated with cists with cremations.

“Although the Sannox pot follows some of the decorative motifs of Scottish food vessels, such as its bevelled rim and the slightly uncommon herring bone design, its decoration is in character comparable to those from the east coast.”

This symbolism from the other side of the land may prove that the objects were used in material exchanges.

“The paired and single incised half-circle motives can be mirrored in many places – not least York, Northumberland, Angus, Fife, and Kinross,” says Ballin Smith.

“In spite of its cracks, the pot is intact but there are significant areas of damage. These are mainly around the base, the body of the vessel just above it, and the bottom of the pot internally.

“The damage is partly due to a loss of surface caused by spalling and erosion of the fabric, partly because the vessel may have lain on the floor of the cist, and possibly because of how it was used and fired.

“The appearance of the vessel suggests that it may have stood in a hot fire. There is no sooting from flames, but the base of the pot indicates heat erosion.

“One interpretation could be that the vessel was positioned on the edge of the funeral pyre, perhaps in order to fire it during the cremation of the body.

“In doing so, it received damage as it was not protected from direct flames or very hot ashes.”

One of the bones from the burial – radiocarbon dated to between 2154 and 2026 B – was rounded into a button shape, suggesting an osteoma benign tumour which may not have caused its bearer “distress or symptoms” during their life.

At a time when wood was a scarce resource in Scotland, the size of the pyre shows the importance given to funerals by Bronze Age society. A “good ceremony” could have enhanced the status of the individual or their community.

Read the full report (opens in PDF).
moss Posted by moss
4th April 2014ce

Eston Nab (Hillfort)

Eston Nab is now owned by the people.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
3rd April 2014ce

Dane's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Dane's Stone Re-erected

Today's Courier tells of the reserection of the Dane's Stone.
Posted by rabtherev
1st April 2014ce
Showing 1-10 of 2,094 news posts. Most recent first | Next 10