21 September 2012
by Alan Saville, Karen Hardy, Roger Miket, and Torben Bjarke Ballin
with contributions by László Bartosiewicz, Clive Bonsall, Margaret Bruce, Stephen Carter, Trevor Cowie, Oliver Craig, Ywonne Hallén, Timothy G. Holden, N.W. Kerr, Jennifer Miller, Nicky Milner, and Catriona Pickard
and with illustrations by Alan Braby, Marion O'Neil, and Craig Angus
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 Rùm.
12 October 2011
by Stuart Mitchell and Sue Anderson
with contributions by A Cox, R Ceron-Carrasco, D Hall, A Jackson and C Smith
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.
23 August 2011
by Ronan Toolis
GUARD Archaeology Ltd, 52 Elderpark Workspace, 100 Elderpark Street, Glasgow G51 3TR
with contributions by Jo Bacon, Torben Bjarke Ballin, Beverley Ballin Smith, Martin Carruthers, Charlotte Francoz, Heather James, Kirsteen McLellan, Gillian McSwan, Susan Ramsay, Ingrid Shearer, Joe Somerville and Dave Swan
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.
13 May 2011
SAIR48 Aeolian Archaeology: the Archaeology of Sand Landscapes in Scotland
Selected case-studies, originally given as spoken papers at a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Specialist Seminar, hosted by Historic Scotland, Edinburgh, May 2004
edited by David Griffiths¹ and Patrick Ashmore²
1. University of Oxford; 2. Historic Scotland
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.
Published by The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, in association with The Council for British Archaeology and Historic Scotland, in Adobe Acrobat format. Available free of charge (see Terms & Conditions of Use).
Use http://www.sair.org.uk/ to cite this page.
Page last modified by Seren Langley on Wednesday 12 October 2011
Site designed by Angela L Smith, 12 December 2005