MacGregor, G., (2003). Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and Bute. In: n.e., Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and Bute. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Title
Title
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Title:
Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and Bute
Issue
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Issue:
Excavation of an urned cremation burial of the Bronze Age, Glennan, Argyll and Bute
Series
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Series:
Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports
Volume
Volume
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Volume:
8
Pages
Pages
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Number of Pages:
23
Downloads
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Downloads:
sair8.pdf (362 kB) : Download
DOI
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DOI
Publication Type
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Publication Type:
MonographSeriesChapter
Abstract
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Abstract:
As part of the Historic Scotland Human Remains Call Off Contract, Glasgow University 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 AD 1260 - 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.\r\nPOSTSCRIPT 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.\r\n
Author
Author
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Author:
Gavin MacGregor
Year of Publication
Year of Publication
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Year of Publication:
2003
ISBN
ISBN
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ISBN:
0-903903-77-6
Locations
Locations
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Subjects / Periods:
Subject - Auto Detected: Inhumation
Subject - Auto Detected: Funerary
Subject - Auto Detected: Cremation Burials
Subject - Auto Detected: Animal Bone
Subject - Auto Detected: Charcoal
Subject - Auto Detected: Mortuary
Subject - Auto Detected: Glennan Urn
Temporal - Auto Detected: Ad 1260 1390
Subject - Auto Detected: Ceremonial
Subject - Auto Detected: Bone
Subject - Auto Detected: Cremation
Bronze Age
Subject - Auto Detected: Burial
Subject - Auto Detected: Boulder Shelter
Subject - Auto Detected: Cremated Bone
Subject - Auto Detected: Urn
Subject - Auto Detected: Burials
Subject - Auto Detected: Hazel Charcoal
Subject - Auto Detected: Cremation Burial
Temporal - Auto Detected: Second Millennium Bc Radiocarbon
Subject - Auto Detected: Flint Flake
Prehistoric
Figure/Plate/Table/Ref
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Source
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Source:
DigitalBorn
Created Date
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Created Date:
19 Jan 2009