Issue: A Rural Medieval Settlement and Early Iron Age Funerary Remains at Hallhill, Dunbar, East Lothian

Publication Type
Abstract An archaeological excavation at Hallhill, Dunbar, has revealed the remains of a rural medieval settlement. Few such sites have been identified in Scotland. Two irregular structures, an enclosure and other possible structures, as well as numerous pits and several gullies and ditches were identified. Large quantities of medieval pottery were recovered from the fills of many of the features, as well as animal bone, coarse stone and metal artefacts. Further to the north, a sub-square ditched enclosure was also found, although this could not be stratigraphically related to the medieval remains and is undated. Adjacent to it was a pit containing incomplete remains of a human skeleton which have been dated to the Late Bronze Age. The work was sponsored by George Wimpey East Scotland Ltd.
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Author Stuart Mitchell
Sue Anderson
Issue Editor Helen Bleck
Publisher Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Historic Scotland
Council for British Archaeology
Year of Publication 2011
Volume 50
ISBN 978-1-908332-00-4
Source DigitalBorn
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2 - 4
Evaluation and excavation was carried out during 2003 in advance of housing development. Site location, topography and geology are described along with excavation aims, methodology ad the site archive which contains full specialist reports. The evaluation revealed a long cist cemetery within enclosure ditches which was preserved in situ.
5 - 6
A description of the square ditched enclosure which is undated. A nearby pit contained fragments of a human skeleton which has been radiocarbon dated to the late Bronze Age or possibly very early Iron Age.
7 - 16
An archaeological description of the features in Trench 2 which include two broad linear gully systems, two discrete structures, several large pits, an enclosure and a possible structure with stone footings.
Derek W Hall
Adrian Cox
Adam Jackson
Catherine Smith
17 - 30
An assemblage of 1053 pottery sherds comprised mainly Scottish gritty ware with some Scottish redware and Rhenish stonewares. Copper alloy objects included costume fittings, vessel components and ferrules. Iron objects included an arrowhead, blades, a hasp and a possible spur arm. Window and vessel glass included a fragment of medieval window glass. Spindle whorls, a trough and a pivot stone were among the worked stone items. Animal bone was mainly cattle, sheep/goat, horse, pig and dog. Marine shells were mainly young periwinkle and limpet which would have been used as fishing bait.
31 - 33
Very few rural medieval settlements are known in Lowland Scotland. The sunken floored structures have no close parallels in Scotland and are interpreted as possible workshops of uncertain function.
The features are difficult to relate to previously excavated rural medieval settlements and this may in part be due to the level of truncation. The dating evidence spans the 12th-15th centuries with a possible focus in the 13th-14th centuries. There is evidence for farming and stock-rearing, exploitation of animals for food, skins, wool and horn, grinding of grain, possible hunting and exploitation of marine resources.
36 - 37