Bronze Age burial unearthed in Scotland

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HUMAN remains dating back to the Bronze Age could lead to new information about how ancient Scots lived their lives, after a landmark find by a team of archaeologists in the Borders.

Bronze Age cist burial excavated on the ground of the Fishwick Chapel [Credit: Bamburgh Research Project]

Scientists believe the discovery of the skeleton in east Berwickshire
could open a new window into the lives of Scots more than 4,000 years
ago.

The body, which is believed to belong to an adult because of its worn teeth, was buried with a pot which could be as much as 4,500 years old, according to experts.

Now those responsible for the dig are hoping the information uncovered could help historians piece together information about how ancient burials were conducted.

Archaeological officer at Scottish Borders Council Chris Bowles said: “Not a lot of these burial cists have survived in the Borders and this will give us a insight into how these burials were constructed and how they were used over time.

“This is being done very scientifically to modern standards using modern scientific techniques and will give us new clues into what was happening in the Bronze Age.

“At the moment it is looking like the early Bronze Age, right at the end of the Neolithic Stone Age, when people were moving out of small agricultural communities into bigger social systems that included religious ceremonies.”

The skeleton was found on the site of a former Norman Church at the Fishwick site in the village of Paxton.

The pot has been identified as from the start of the Bronze Age – around 2,400BC.

Mr Bowles believes the discovery could be part of a wider burial and could lead to further information about the role of religion in the Borders.

He added: “The belief is now that these places were significant as religious places from very early on and kept as spiritual places for millennia right into Christian times.

“It is possible that this is a wider burial site as the way it is constructed looks like the stone on the end could have been removed over and over again.

“It could have been reused by the community or it could have been to take out bones of their ancestors at special festivals.”

Kritisian Pedersen, who is co-heading the project, said: “This will be significant in our understanding of the early Bronze Age in Scotland.

“Bronze Age burials have been uncovered elsewhere but none have shown up in the Borders for a long time and the last time was before we have all the technology that we have now.”

The Paxton area was originally part of the Kingdom of Bernicia and later became part of the Kingdom of Northumbria.

Last year, Bronze Age tools dating back to around 1500BC were discovered at another part of the site.

The project in the area has been granted £58,000 in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Borders Council’s Leader Programme.

Visit the Bamburgh Research Project’s Blog

Author: Nan Spowart | Source: The Scotsman [August 05, 2011]

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