Cameron, K. and Johnson, M., (2012). An early Bronze Age unenclosed cremation cemetery and Mesolithic pit at Skilmafilly, near Maud, Aberdeenshire. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. https://doi.org/10.9750/issn.1773-3808.2012.53.

Title
Title
The title of the publication or report
Title:
An early Bronze Age unenclosed cremation cemetery and Mesolithic pit at Skilmafilly, near Maud, Aberdeenshire
Series
Series
The series the publication or report is included in
Series:
Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports
Volume
Volume
Volume number and part
Volume:
53
Pages
Pages
The number of pages in the publication or report
Number of Pages:
59
Downloads
Downloads
Any files associated with the publication or report that can be downloaded from the ADS
Downloads:
sair53.pdf (4 MB) : Download
DOI
DOI
The DOI (digital object identifier) for the publication or report.
DOI
https://doi.org/10.9750/issn.1773-3808.2012.53
Publication Type
Publication Type
The type of publication - report, monograph, journal article or chapter from a book
Publication Type:
Monograph Chapter (in Series)
Abstract
Abstract
The abstract describing the content of the publication or report
Abstract:
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.
Author
Author
The authors of this publication or report
Author:
Kirsty Cameron
Melanie Johnson
Issue Editor
Issue Editor
The editor of the volume or issue
Issue Editor:
Helen Bleck
Publisher
Publisher
The publisher of the publication or report
Publisher:
Historic Scotland
Archaeology Data Service
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Other Person/Org
Other Person/Org
Other people or organisations for this publication or report
Other Person/Org:
Adam Jackson (Author contributing)
Year of Publication
Year of Publication
The year the book, article or report was published
Year of Publication:
2012
Locations
Locations
Any locations covered by the publication or report. This is not the place the book or report was published.
Locations:
Location - Auto Detected: St Fergus
Locations
Locations
Any locations covered by the publication or report. This is not the place the book or report was published.
Subjects / Periods:
Subject - Auto Detected: pit
Subject - Auto Detected: bone
Subject - Auto Detected: cremation cemetery
Subject - Auto Detected: watching brief
Subject - Auto Detected: charcoal
Temporal - Auto Detected: 2040 to 1500 BC
Source
Source
Where the record has come from or which dataset it was orginally included in.
Source:
DigitalBorn
Related resources
Related resources
Other resources which are relevant to this publication or report
Relations:
Created Date
Created Date
The date the record of the pubication was first entered
Created Date:
15 Jul 2014
Chapter Title Sort Order Both Arrows Access Type Author / Editor Page
Start/End Sort Order Up Arrow
Abstract
1
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.
2 - 3
Excavation took place in 2001 on the route of the St Fergus to Aberdeen gas pipeline. The cemetery was discovered during a watching brief on topsoil stripping of the pipeline easement and was subsequently fully excavated. Other discoveries included a ring ditch of uncertain date, three large pits of Late Neolithic or early Bronze Age date and a chipped stone scatter. Details of these are contained in the site archive.
Melanie Johnson
Kathleen McSweeney
4 - 17
A large pit measuring 3.2 m in diameter was radiocarbon dated to the Mesolithic. Charcoal of oak, birch and hazel was identified. The cremation cemetery comprised 41 circular and oval pits, 29 of which contained cremated bone. There were 11 urns of the Collared and Cordoned variety. Each of the pits is described in detail and specialist data on the pottery, human bone and radiocarbon dates is incorporated.
Melanie Johnson
Dawn McLaren
Torben Bjarke Ballin
Kathleen McSweeney
18 - 29
Specialist reports on pottery, human bone, lithics, worked bone and antler, and a perforated stone disc. Nine of the urns are collared and two are cordoned. The distribution of cordoned urns is largely limited to Scotland and Ireland. Cremated bone from 31 contexts represented a minimum of 35 individuals, including men, women and children. Twenty three lithics including a very fine foliate knife were found. The latter is thought to have been imported from a more southerly source. Otherwise, most of the flint is debitage and badly burnt. Bone objects included pins and toggles while a perforated stone disc has no immediate parallels.
Catherine Smith
Mhairi Hastie
Lucy Verrill
30 - 37
Two talons and one bone fragment of golden eagle were associated with a child cremation. Charcoal from the Mesolithic pit comprised oak, birch and hazel. Charcoal from cremation deposits was mainly oak followed by birch, hazel, and traces of alder. Magnetic susceptibility was used to look for pyre sites and identified a possible area of former pyre activity where efforts were made to clear the debris soon after the cremation process was complete.
38 - 41
A total of 57 dates were obtained from charcoal and human bone. Three Mesolithic dates came from the large pit. The remainder were from the cremation burials. With the exception of two slightly earlier dates which may have come from old charcoal they were all early Bronze Age.
42 - 48
The various categories of evidence already reported are brought together in a discussion of the cremation rite. The evidence indicates that early Bronze Age cremations were a complex mixture of funerary rites which hint at a complex social structure or set of beliefs, taboos and societal norms. It is currently the most comprehensively dated cremation cemetery in Britain and was in use from 2040-1500 BC.
49
50 - 53