The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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The Long Man of Wilmington (Hill Figure) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>The Long Man of Wilmington</b>Posted by Martin

City of Edinburgh — News

Bronze age skull from Juniper Green, Edinburgh


Latest RC dating on skull reveals that the man died around 2150 BCE;

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=401752007

FOR more than a century the skull has lain in storage as part of the national museum collection.

But now radiocarbon testing has established the remains - discovered in a stone box grave in Edinburgh by 19th century workmen - are hundreds of years older than anyone realised.

It has become clear the skull belonged to a Bronze Age man who lived in the area which almost 4000 years later became Juniper Green.

The discovery has added a new dimension to the area's 300th anniversary celebrations this year.

The skull was found in a carefully-constructed cist, or stone box grave, during excavations in 1851. It was handed over to archaeologists at the time and ever since has been kept in a collection which became part of the National Museum of Scotland. However, no-one realised the significance of the find, until now, with little known about the precise age of the skull.

The discovery of its great age came after it was chosen to take part in a £500,000 international research project using modern dating technology.

Radiocarbon dating was carried out on the skull by the museum and the results revealed the man died between the ages of 40 and 55 around the year 2150BC.

Carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis at Leipzig University in Germany has revealed more about the man, including that his diet was high in animal protein, although he didn't eat fish.

Work is continuing at the university in the hope of shedding more light on Bronze Age life in the area.

The discovery has already established the likelihood of a previously unknown settlement in the Juniper Green area.

Dr Alison Sheridan, head of early prehistory at the National Museum of Scotland's archaeology department, said: "It is fascinating that within all the celebrations of Juniper Green's past we have been able to confirm that there was life in the area long before the village was formed.

"We are certain that he lived in the area - he was bound to have. We know that Bronze Age cemeteries and settlements were pretty close but nobody has found the settlement yet."

It was one of 250 skulls being studied as part of the Beaker People Project being run between Sheffield and Leipzig universities and the Museum of Scotland.

It was originally found in 1851 in a house which is now the Scotts butcher shop on Lanark Road.

Professors at Leipzig are now awaiting results of strontium and oxygen tests on the enamel of the skull's back teeth to see whether the man was born in the area.

The revelation about Juniper Green's history is an important addition to the understanding of Edinburgh's Bronze Age past.

It means that it joins a growing number of sites where Bronze Age activity has been noted, including Cramond, Traprain Law, Broomhouse and Huly Hill.

Archaeologists date the earliest inhabitants of the Lothians - and Scotland - to 8000 BC following the discovery of a Mesolithic house in East Barns, near Dunbar.

The dating of the skull has left residents in Juniper Green taken aback, especially at the butchers shop that it was first found at.

Colin Hanlon, owner of Scotts, said: "It's a huge shock that there were people here all that time ago.

"The whole community is alive with all this at the moment - everyone's talking about it. We may arrange something to celebrate that it was here that the village's oldest resident was found."

Prof Cliff Beevers, who set up the Juniper Green 300 website and has been arranging many of the celebratory events, said: "We are all delighted to hear that there is evidence of people living here 4000 years ago - not just 300 like we thought. We are building up a living memory of the village and this discovery is a great help in doing that."

Dr Sheridan will present her findings in a presentation at Juniper Green Parish Church at 7.30pm on Thursday.

Highland (Mainland) — News

BBC reconstruct old cave for child remains


Program on BBC2 Monday 15th January at 9pm where a 3,000-year-old Scottish temple cave dedicated to dead children has been brought to life for the first time. See;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/6252605.stm

News

Roman skelton pre-dates city


OK, so not UK/Ireland news, but v interesting nonetheless- from the BBC news site;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5031974.stm

Italian archaeologists digging in the Roman Forum have found a well-preserved skeleton of a woman who lived 3,000 years ago.

The astonishing fact about this discovery is that it dates back to at least 300 years before the traditional date of the founding of Rome, 753 BC.

It has long been known that Bronze Age people were living on the site where the ancient Romans founded their city.

But few traces of their society have ever been brought to light.

Anna De Santis, who took part in the dig, said the woman whose bones have been found was aged about 30 when she died.

She was evidently of high birth, for she was wearing an amber necklace with a gold pendant, a bronze hair-fastener and a bronze ring on one of her fingers.

The archaeologists also found four bronze clasps, two of which may have been used to hold her shroud in place.

It was the custom for most prehistoric ancestors of the ancient Romans to cremate their dead and place their ashes in funerary urns.

Experts in Roman pre-history are interested that the new burial site, not far from the forum where Caesar's body was burned after his assassination 1,000 years later, marks a transition in social habits, from cremation - the customary form of burial at that period of pre-history - to burial in the ground.

Brutal Lives of Stone Age Britons


From the BBC site;
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4757861.stm

By Paul Rincon, BBC News science reporter

A survey of British skulls from the early part of the New Stone Age, or Neolithic, shows societies then were more violent than was supposed.
Early Neolithic Britons had a one in 20 chance of suffering a skull fracture at the hands of someone else and a one in 50 chance of dying from their injuries.

Details were presented at a meeting of the Society for American Archaeology and reported in New Scientist magazine.

Blunt instruments such as clubs were responsible for most of the trauma.

This is not the first time human-induced injuries have been identified in Neolithic people. But the authors say it is the first study to give some idea of the overall frequency of such trauma.

Rick Schulting of Queen's University Belfast and Michael Wysocki from the University of Central Lancashire looked at skulls spanning the period from 4000 BC to 3200 BC.

"We generally think of Neolithic people as living peaceful lives - they were busy looking after cereal crops and rearing livestock," Mr Wysocki told the BBC News website.

"But it was a much more violent society."

Mortal wounds

Nearly 5% of the skulls showed healed depressed fractures. They found unhealed injuries in 2% of the sample, suggesting these individuals died from their wounds.

But the true scale of the violence still remains unclear due to the nature of the evidence, say the authors. In other simple, small-scale societies, the incidence of death as a result of violence ranges from 8-33%.


"Our data shows 2% lethal cranial injuries, but these are just cranial. The data for other societies is for all lethal injuries, but ours is limited so we can't compare it," Mr Wysocki said.
"A lot of lethal injuries will be to soft tissues and that needn't affect bone."

The researchers suspect that what they are seeing is violence at the local and regional level rather than large-scale warfare involving large sections of the country.

"We could also be seeing raiding parties, cattle rustling, somebody suspecting the other tribe across the hill is practising witchcraft," the University of Central Lancashire forensic anthropologist explained.

"Some of the violence may be domestic, some of it may even be ritualised."

The majority of the trauma was caused by blunt instruments which may have included improvised clubs. But a handful of fractures look like they have been inflicted by flint arrowheads and spearpoints. One of the females in the sample appears to have been the victim of a brutal attack with a stone axe.

Another indivdual with a suspected projectile fracture appears to have had their ears slashed off - a possible instance of trophy-taking, the researchers speculate.

The research originally appeared in the the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society journal.

Cardrona Mains (Standing Stone / Menhir) — News

Concern as new flats could close in on standing stone


From the Peeblesshire News, Jan 20th 2006;

Concern as new flats could close in on standing stone

An ancient standing stone may be set to share its field with thousands of building blocks. Developers plan to build 21 new flats near the site of the rural relic at Cardrona. But local historical and environmental organisations have raised concern about the proposal. A representative from Historic Scotland, Lesley Brown, told the Peeblesshire News: "We have already written a letter to the council's planning department to object about this. The stone is listed as being of national importance. When we talk about conserving it as a historical monument we are not only concerned with the physical impact on the stone itself, but also on its setting. This is part of national planning policy. The only was we would concede is in exceptional circumstances, but there is no real cause for building here. Housing needs are already being met" she added. Plans for the new building development have been put forward by Renwick Country Properties and the modern flats would be built behind the old Station House. Local planning officer, Barry Fotheringham, said: "We have already had a number of objections to this. The building would be close enough to the stone to warrant concerns. This doesn't necessarily mean that the application will be refused, but these things will be taken into consideration." Little is known about the stone, but archaeological experts believe it could have been standing in the field from as far back as 3000 BC. One theory is that it was a marker for an ancient ford crossing through the nearby River Tweed.

The Witches' Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>The Witches' Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Witches' Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Witches' Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Witches' Stone</b>Posted by Martin

The Witches' Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Thursday 1/12/05
Well- what an improvement to this lonely site. Looks like the council have finally spent some money and tidied this place up as well as a new 'Wiches Stone' plaque on the freshly painted railings and a small plaque at ground level explaining a bit about the stone. All the ivy and vegetation that had almost engulfed the stone has gone to be replaced by a sympathetic rockery round the back and some white quartz around the stone. Great improvement, but this spot still gives me the creeps!

The Rood Well (Sacred Well) — Images

<b>The Rood Well</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Rood Well</b>Posted by Martin

The Rood Well (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

Thursday 1/12/05
Wow- looks like the council have really got their act together with this site too (see the improvements to the nearby Witches Stone). What a difference- for once you can actually walk down to the well house instead of trying to balance above it on an old stone wall then jump into a mass of nettles and brambles. Gone are all the head-high plants and the whole entrance to the well-house has been landscaped and planted. There are also some new stone steps leading down to the well itself. All in all a vast improvement to what was a very neglected but important holy well.

Kirklandhill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Kirklandhill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Kirklandhill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin

Pencraig Hill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Pencraig Hill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Pencraig Hill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin

East Lothian — News

Edinburgh and East Lothain Archaeology Conference 13th November 2004


From the East Lothain website;

Edinburgh & East Lothian Archaeology Conference

Edinburgh and East Lothian Archaeology Conference Saturday, November 13th 2004 0930-1700 Appleton Tower (Theatre 4), Edinburgh
Come and find out about the excavations on Traprain Law since the fire, prehistoric remains at Wedderburn House, Roman Crammond and Medieval Leith.

Get a latest update on work along the A1, recent digital mapping projects across both counties and the results of the first year of the Prestongrange Community Archaeology Project. Tickets £15 (£8)

To book in advance send cheques (made payable to East Lothian Council) to Culture and Community Development, John Muir House, Haddington

For more information contact Biddy Simpson on 01620 827158 or bsimpson1@eastlothian.gov.uk , go to www.elh.info or www.eastlothian.gov.uk

Brothers' Stones (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin<b>Brothers' Stones</b>Posted by Martin

Eildon Hills — Folklore

The Eildons are one of the supposed resting places of King Arthur and his Knights- a hidden cave or vault deep in the hills are where they sleep. Another tale relates to the hills as a gateway to the realm of the Faerie. Thomas the Rhymer, a 13th Century poet, is supposed to have been resting at the foot of these hills and met the Faerie Queen who took him into the heart of them;
'He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,
And a pair of shoes of velvet green,
And till seven years were gane and past
True Thomas on earth was never seen.'

Brothers' Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Friday 27/8/04
Absolute genius. The vision to place these stones atop this hill as a monolithic mirror image representation of the Eildon Hills is phenomenal. I am blown away by this (almost literally- it's a howling gale up here!). It's not until I visit the Cow Stone, just 320 m ENE and slightly downhill from here do I appreciate that these stones feel also like a gateway. I don't think that the Cow Stone should be seen as a completely separate monument as the three work so well together. I walk back up the hill from the Cow Stone to the Brothers Stones- and, in between these giants, the land to the West opens up and right in the middle- the Eildon Hills. I actually said 'WOW!'
The pair are aligned NNW/SSE. The northernmost stone is rectangular in section measuring 75 by 57 cm. The stone tapers to the top (2 m high) and the rectangular top is angled and slopes up from E to W in the direction of the Eildons- as does the southernmost stone. The S stone is triangular in section and measures 90 cm by 1 m by 1 m. It's a beast at 2.5 m high. One side is aligned perfectly N/S.

The Cow Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>The Cow Stone</b>Posted by Martin

The Cow Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Friday 27/8/04
Only about 320 m down a slight hill from the Brothers' Stones is this massive irregular lump of a monolith. It's 2 m high by around the same in it's greatest width. One of the major axis is aligned NNE/SSW. There is a great notch at the top through which to view the Brothers' Stones. Taken with these pair, this monolith forms a huge triangle on Brotherstone Hill and the walk from here, back up to those pair is like passing through a megalithic gateway.

Earlston Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Earlston Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Earlston Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Earlston Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Earlston Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin

Earlston Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Friday 27/8/04
This site is marked on the 1:25000 OS map as 'standings stones', but there is definitely only the one here (as confirmed by the RCAHMS notes). It stands next to a dry stane dyke at the entrance to a ploughed field. It's aligned NW/SE and there is a very curious 'seat'-like shape to the stone- whether natural or sculptured it's difficult to say, but there's a seat part and the bulk of the stone forms the back part! The stone is 1.47 m high by 1.2 m wide and around 36 cm thick. The E side has the 'seat'- it's 42 cm wide and 1 m long. Nice spot for a sit down!

Cambridge Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Cambridge Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Cambridge Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Cambridge Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Cambridge Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin

Cambridge Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Friday 27/8/04
A kilometre SW from Bruntaburn standing stone is another- but this one is not marked on the 1:25000 OS map- dunno why- it's a big as Bruntaburn. Almost square in section the sides are aligned approximately NE/SW. It's 1.8 m high and about 1 m square. The W side has two holes drilled as it looks like it was used as a fence post sometime in the past. There is no note in the RC notes though of a series of four vertical holes/hollows on the E side. Making my way back to the road I meet with two women on horseback who stay here. They tell me about the other stones in the vicinity and note that they feel this place to be magickal- 'it's as if someone is watching you all the time you are out here'. It's true- this tiny lane and the country about it has a certain forgotten otherworldliness feel to it.

Bruntaburn Mill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Bruntaburn Mill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin<b>Bruntaburn Mill Standing Stone</b>Posted by Martin
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