Issue: Cist burials and an Iron Age settlement at Dryburn Bridge, Innerwick, East Lothian

Publication Type
Abstract This report provides an account of the excavations of a cropmark enclosure and other prehistoric remains at Dryburn Bridge, near Innerwick in East Lothian. The excavations were directed over two seasons in 1978 and 1979 by Jon Triscott and David Pollock, and were funded by the Ancient Monuments Branch, Scottish Development Department. Features and artefacts of various periods were discovered during the excavations, including a Mesolithic chipped stone assemblage and pits associated with Impressed Ware pottery. A pair of distinctive burial cists dating to c2300-2000 cal BC was discovered, each containing two inhumations, one articulated and the other disarticulated; a Beaker vessel was found directly above one of the cists. By the mid first millennium cal BC a settlement had been founded on the site. Three successive settlement layouts can be interpreted from the excavated structures. The first two phases represent continuous occupation, dating to before 400 cal BC, and consisted of timber roundhouses, other rectangular structures and a small cemetery of pit graves located within a palisaded enclosure. The final occupation phase, which extended into the Roman Iron Age and may have occurred after a break in occupation, consisted of an unenclosed settlement of ring-ditch houses. Historic Scotland and predecessor bodies funded the post-excavation studies and publication of this report.
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Author Andrew J Dunwell
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Other Person/Org Bill Finlayson (Author contributing)
Andrew Heald (Author contributing)
Fraser Hunter (Author contributing)
Dominic Inglemark (Author contributing)
Mandy Jay (Author contributing)
Julie Roberts (Author contributing)
Alison Sheridan (Author contributing)
Jennifer Thoms (Author contributing)
Year of Publication 2007
Volume 24
ISBN 0 903903 93 8
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
This report provides an account of the excavations of a cropmark enclosure and other prehistoric remains at Dryburn Bridge, near Innerwick in East Lothian. The excavations were directed over two seasons in 1978 and 1979 by Jon Triscott and David Pollock, and were funded by the Ancient Monuments Branch, Scottish Development Department. Features and artefacts of various periods were discovered during the excavations, including a Mesolithic chipped stone assemblage and pits associated with Impressed Ware pottery. A pair of distinctive burial cists dating to c2300-2000 cal BC was discovered, each containing two inhumations, one articulated and the other disarticulated; a Beaker vessel was found directly above one of the cists. By the mid first millennium cal BC a settlement had been founded on the site. Three successive settlement layouts can be interpreted from the excavated structures. The first two phases represent continuous occupation, dating to before 400 cal BC, and consisted of timber roundhouses, other rectangular structures and a small cemetery of pit graves located within a palisaded enclosure. The final occupation phase, which extended into the Roman Iron Age and may have occurred after a break in occupation, consisted of an unenclosed settlement of ring-ditch houses. Historic Scotland and predecessor bodies funded the post-excavation studies and publication of this report.
2 - 5
This chapter presents details of site location, an account of the excavation and considers both the limitations and opportunities presented by the post-excavation analysis. The difficulties of a report being compiled by a third party were mitigated by the quality of the site archive and the shift in the way that we now understand Iron Age societies and interpret the physical remains of their settlements and burial grounds. Details of the radiocarbon dates and the report structure are also included.
6 - 11
Mesolithic activity was represented by a small assemblage of worked stone artefacts. Two cists each containing two individuals are of late Neolithic/early Bronze Age date as are a few pits, pottery sherds and stone artefacts.
12 - 25
This section contains specialist reports on chipped stone, late Neolithic pottery, a Beaker vessel and the human remains.
26 - 27
Dates obtained in 1979/80 are compared with those obtained in 2004. The results indicate that all four individuals probably died in the period 2300-2000 cal BC.
28 - 31
The disarticulated skeletons represent the primary burials within each cist. These remains were disturbed and redeposited over the The main focus of the discussion is on the nature of the burial practice represented by the cists and the possible sequence of events that led to their final form. Three hypotheses are presented. remainThe disarticulated skeletons represent the primary burials within each cist. These remains were disturbed and redeposited over the remains of secondary articulated burials within each cist. This hypothesis requires two separate acts of burial activity. Each cist contains two skeletons, reflecting a single burial event. This implies that in each case a corpse was interred along with the defleshed remains of a second individual. The disarticulated remains represent secondary burials within each cist. This hypothesis requires two burial events.
32 - 72
This section comprised a detailed archaeological description of the excavated features of the Iron Age settlement. Features include enclosing works (inner and outer enclosures), a variety of building types (post-ring, ring-groove, ring-ditch and rectangular structures), pit graves, fence lines, pitted boundaries, fence-lines, pits, postholes and a dog burial. Radiocarbon dates are also incorporated.
73 - 85
Specialist reports on pottery, coarse stone, copper alloy, iron, slag, Roman glass, oil shale and cannel coal, slag and antler. There is also a general discussion of the artefact assemblage as a whole.
Hilary E M Cool
73 - 75
Hilary E M Cool
75 - 78
Fraser Hunter
78 - 79
Fraser Hunter
79
Dominic Ingemark
80 - 81
Fraser Hunter
81
Andrew Heald
81 - 82
Fraser Hunter
82
86 - 95
Specialist reports on faunal remains, human remains and isotope analysis of both assemblages.
Jennifer Thoms
86 - 91
Julie Roberts
91 - 93
Mandy Jay
93 - 95
96 - 97
Certain elements of the site can be placed into a chronological sequence on the basis of the radiocarbon dates and can contribute to an overall model of settlement development.
98 - 108
Three broad phases of cemetery activity have been identified. The discussion considers the transition from an enclosed to an unenclosed settlement between phases 2 and 3, whether or not the settlement expanded, house types and cultural and chronological indicators (orientation, cosmology), the cemetery, economy, wealth, status and whether or not there is evidence for structured deposition and ritualised acts.
109
The report has presented a revised view of settlement development, based upon the observed stratigraphic, dating and spatial evidence; the identification of planned layouts based upon frontage alignments, and changes to those alignments over time; and the presence of Roman material culture.
110
111 - 116
Julie Roberts
117
117
Andrew J Dunwell
The excavations were directed over two seasons in 1978 and 1979 by Jon Triscott and David Pollock, and were funded by the Ancient Monuments Branch, Scottish Development Department. Features and artefacts of various periods were discovered during the excavations, including a Mesolithic chipped stone assemblage and pits associated with Impressed Ware pottery. A pair of distinctive burial cists dating to c2300'“2000 cal bc was discovered, each containing two inhumations, one articulated and the other disarticulated; a Beaker vessel was found directly above one of the cists. By the mid-first millennium cal bc a settlement had been founded on the site. Three successive settlement layouts can be interpreted from the excavated structures. The first two phases represent continuous occupation, dating to before 400 cal bc, and consisted of timber roundhouses, other rectangular structures and a small cemetery of pit graves located within a palisaded enclosure. The final occupation phase, which extended into the Roman Iron Age and may have occurred after a break in occupation, consisted of an unenclosed settlement of ring-ditch houses. Historic Scotland and predecessor bodies funded the post-excavation studies and publication of this report.