Issue: The Excavation of an Early Bronze Age Burnt Mound at Arisaig, Lochaber, Highland

Publication Type
Abstract During the upgrading of the A830(T), the 'Road to the Isles', the remains of a disturbed burnt mound deposit were discovered and later excavated during September and October 2005 by CFA Archaeology Ltd. This is the first such feature to have been excavated in this part of the Highlands.<br /><br />The burnt mound was discovered lying partly below a modern field bank on the edge of Arisaig during a trial trenching evaluation. Excavation demonstrated that the feature was formed in an active fluvial environment and that, despite the rural and boggy location, it had suffered considerable damage since its formation, caused by both the fluvial action of the adjacent stream and by a field drain. No evidence was found for either a hearth or a formal trough. The implication of a small assemblage of local quartz from within the burnt material is discussed. The charcoal assemblage is compared to spectra of pollen from contemporary deposits of peat in the area. Studies of the nature and origin of the burnt material via the results of soil magnetic susceptibility and thin-section analyses are presented. Six radiocarbon dates from three associated contexts span the period from 2550 to 1900 BC and suggest the burnt mound accumulated during the Early Bronze Age.
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Author Ian Suddaby
Issue Editor Helen Bleck
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year of Publication 2009
Volume 39
ISBN 0 903903 59 2
Source biab_online
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Abstract
1
During the upgrading of the A830(T), the 'Road to the Isles', the remains of a disturbed burnt mound deposit were discovered and later excavated during September and October 2005 by CFA Archaeology Ltd. This is the first such feature to have been excavated in this part of the Highlands. The burnt mound was discovered lying partly below a modern field bank on the edge of Arisaig during a trial trenching evaluation. Excavation demonstrated that the feature was formed in an active fluvial environment and that, despite the rural and boggy location, it had suffered considerable damage since its formation, caused by both the fluvial action of the adjacent stream and by a field drain. No evidence was found for either a hearth or a formal trough. The implication of a small assemblage of local quartz from within the burnt material is discussed. The charcoal assemblage is compared to spectra of pollen from contemporary deposits of peat in the area. Studies of the nature and origin of the burnt material via the results of soil magnetic susceptibility and thin-section analyses are presented. Six radiocarbon dates from three associated contexts span the period from 2550 to 1900 BC and suggest the burnt mound accumulated during the Early Bronze Age.
2
3 - 5
Information on the site location, setting and circumstances of the investigation are presented.
6 - 10
This chapter comprises detailed archaeological description of the excavated features. Five phases of activity have been identified.
Torben Bjarke Ballin
Michael Cressey
Clare Ellis
11 - 14
This chapter comprises specialist reports on the quartz assemblage, charcoal and soil micromorphology. There is also a section on radiocarbon dating.
Torben B Ballin
11 - 12
Michael Cressey
12 - 13
Clare Ellis
13 - 14
15 - 16
The burnt mound is the first to be recorded in Lochaber and is therefore an important contribution to our understanding of the distribution of these features. Aspects of distribution, morphology and function of burnt mounds is considered.
17 - 18
Ian Suddaby
During the upgrading of the A830(T), the 'Road to the Isles', the remains of a disturbed burnt mound deposit were discovered and later excavated during September and October 2005 by CFA Archaeology Ltd. This is the first such feature to have been excavated in this part of the Highlands.\r\n\r\nThe burnt mound was discovered lying partly below a modern field bank on the edge of Arisaig during a trial trenching evaluation. Excavation demonstrated that the feature was formed in an active fluvial environment and that, despite the rural and boggy location, it had suffered considerable damage since its formation, caused by both the fluvial action of the adjacent stream and by a field drain. No evidence was found for either a hearth or a formal trough. The implication of a small assemblage of local quartz from within the burnt material is discussed. The charcoal assemblage is compared to spectra of pollen from contemporary deposits of peat in the area. Studies of the nature and origin of the burnt material via the results of soil magnetic susceptibility and thin-section analyses are presented. Six radiocarbon dates from three associated contexts span the period from 2550 to 1900 BC and suggest the burnt mound accumulated during the Early Bronze Age.