Issue: Excavation of a Bronze Age funerary site at Loth Road, Sanday, Orkney

Publication Type
Abstract Excavations in 1991 beside Loth Road, Sanday, revealed a funerary site, including two cists, which contained cremated human bone, and several pits. The cremation burial in one of the cists was contained in a soapstone vessel. These features presented evidence for the sorting, selection and differential deposition of pyre remains. The cists and pits were surmounted by a kerbed cairn of unusual construction. Radiocarbon dates from the pits placed the site in the Early to Middle Bronze Age.
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Author Paul Sharman
Editor Debra Barrie
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Other Person/Org Diane M Alldritt (Author contributing)
Ann MacSween (Author contributing)
Effie Photos-Jones (Author contributing)
Julie Roberts (Author contributing)
Ann Clarke (Author contributing)
Year of Publication 2007
Volume 25
ISBN 0 903903 95 4
Source DigitalBorn
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Abstract
1
Excavations in 1991 beside Loth Road, Sanday, revealed a funerary site, including two cists, which contained cremated human bone, and several pits. The cremation burial in one of the cists was contained in a soapstone vessel. These features presented evidence for the sorting, selection and differential deposition of pyre remains. The cists and pits were surmounted by a kerbed cairn of unusual construction. Radiocarbon dates from the pits placed the site in the Early to Middle Bronze Age.
2 - 3
Details of site location, archaeological background and a summary account of the project are presented.
4 - 10
A detailed archaeological description is presented along with phasing and radiocarbon dates.
Julie Roberts
11 - 13
The specialist report on a small and poorly preserved quantity of human bone considers the evidence for minimum number of individuals, age at death, sex and mortuary practice.
Julie A Roberts
11 - 13
Diane M Alldritt
14 - 15
The analysis of the material produced no evidence for domestic activities, such as cereal processing, for the use of plant material as votive offerings or for feasting. Pit contexts contained the highest concentration of burnt peat and heather fragments, while cist contexts contained the highest concentration of cremated bone fragments with very few carbonised plant remains.
Diane M Alldritt
14 - 15
Effie Photos-Jones
16 - 17
This analysis aims to elucidate the nature and composition of vitrified fuel ash waste or cramp.
Effie Photos-Jones
16 - 17
Ann MacSween
18
Specialist report on a small assemblage comprising five undiagnostic sherds from a single vessel.
Ann MacSween
18
Ann Clarke
19 - 20
Specialist report on a small assemblage comprising five flaked stone bars, 1 ard, 1 flint flake and a large stone disc used as a lid for a steatite vessel.
Ann Clarke
19 - 20
Paul Sharman
21 - 24
Specialist report on two steatite vessels, one from a cist and one from a pit.
Paul Sharman
21 - 24
25 - 28
The excavations have revealed some of the physical remnants of what may have been an extensive and prolonged series of events that comprised the funerary ritual. Cremation, burial of selected remains and the construction of a monument are the most obvious archaeological parts of these events.
29
Funerary rites the world over confirm relationships between the living, and establish a different relationship with the newly dead. These relationships may not end with the burial, but continue long after in dialogues with the ancestors, in physical or incorporeal form. Rites of placation or supplication and rituals of remembrance may all have a part to play.
30
31 - 33
Paul Sharman
Excavations in 1991 beside Loth Road, Sanday, revealed a funerary site, including two cists, which contained cremated human bone, and several pits. The cremation burial in one of the cists was contained in a soapstone vessel. These features presented evidence for the sorting, selection and differential deposition of pyre remains. The cists and pits were surmounted by a kerbed cairn of unusual construction. Radiocarbon dates from the pits placed the site in the Early to Middle Bronze Age.