Bronze Age burials found near Scotland’s Loch Ness

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Archaeologists say they are finding increasing evidence that a site near Loch Ness was important for burials in the Bronze Age.

Bronze Age burials found near Scotland's Loch Ness
The excavation of the second cist grave [Credit: AOC Archaeology]

A second 4,000-year-old grave has been located in an area being developed in Drumnadrochit where a stone-lined grave known as a cist was found in 2015.

The discovery two years ago included human remains. The latest grave had filled with soil causing degradation to the pit, but a single Beaker pot was found.

Archaeologists said the decorated pot may have held an offering to the person who was buried in the cist.

The first grave was discovered during work constructing the new Drumnadrochit Medical Centre and excavated by AOC Archaeology Group.

Bronze Age burials found near Scotland's Loch Ness
The Beaker pot that was found in the second grave [Credit: AOC Archaeology]

Earlier this year, AOC archaeologists were called back to the area by Compass Building and Construction Services and Loch Ness Homes, who are building a mix of affordable and private housing on land near the medical centre.

Mary Peteranna, operations Manager for AOC Archaeology’s Inverness office, said: “The discovery of a second Bronze Age cist on the site provides increasing evidence for the special selection of this site in the prehistoric landscape as a location for ceremonial funerary activity.

“This cist, along with the medical centre cist and a second burial pit, is generating much more information about the prehistory of Glen Urquhart.

“Historically, there was a large cairn shown on maps of the area but you can imagine that centuries of ploughing in these fields have removed any upstanding reminders of prehistoric occupation.”

Bronze Age burials found near Scotland's Loch Ness
Archaeologists identified a small stone-lined grave, known as a short cist, covered by a large sandstone capping stone 
[Credit: AOC Archaeology]

The archaeologist added: “During the work, we actually found a displaced capstone from another grave that either has not survived or has not yet been discovered.

“So it’s quite likely that these graves were covered by stone cairns or mounds, long-since ploughed out.”

Beaker pots, with their distinctive flared necks and geometric patterns, have frequently been found at Bronze Age burial sites along with other artefacts, such as arrowheads, wristguards and copper knives.

Archaeologists described the new Drumnadrochit pot as a small Beaker with “simple incised decoration” similar to other Scottish examples dating to between 2200-1900 BC.

Bronze Age burials found near Scotland's Loch Ness
Although soil had filled the grave, causing degradation to the burial, excavation revealed that the grave contained 
a single Beaker pot, placed inside as an offering at the time of burial [Credit: AOC Archaeology]

It is similar in size to one found on the medical centre site in 2015, but with a less ornate design.

Archaeologists said future analysis would confirm if, like the medical centre Beaker, it contained an offering at the time of burial.

Important Bronze Age finds have been made across the Scottish Highlands.

They include the remains of a woman known to archaeologists as Ava, an abbreviation of Achavanich where her bones were discovered in 1987.

Last year, a facial reconstruction of her face was made by forensic artist Hew Morrison, a graduate of the University of Dundee.

Author: Steven McKenzie | Source: BBC News Website [December 14, 2017]

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