|31 January 2004
A great deal of finds for Scottish archaeologists
Last year turned out to be a bumper year of excitement for the Biggar Museum archaeologists (Lanarkshire, Scotland). Tam Ward, the project leader, said: "Every now and then, we get surprises to deal with, and these have been an Early Stone Age Settlement, near Coulter. The site was ploughed up and it proved to be the spot where some of the first farmers were living, and apart from a large collection of flints, hundreds of pieces of pottery were found in pits which will be dated and we expect them to be between 5000 and 6000 years old."
Work also resumed at a site on Weston Farm, near Newbigging. "We knew this was an early site because we found tiny flints here before, and which tell us that people were living here before any had actually settled on the landscape," said Tam. "These people were hunter-gatherers, perhaps camping for a single night before moving off again. We found pits full of hazelnut shells and when we date these, we will know exactly when these people were there."
The Weston sites have now produced some of the largest collections of early tools so far found in Scotland. Tam continued: "First we went into Daer, where we have been working for years, finding new sites every time, because they are being washed out constantly. Several arrow heads found now provide the first evidence of the stone age farmers so high in the hills."
While still working flat out in Daer, the group hurried into the Tweed hills to look at the Talla and Fruid reservoirs,where a host of never-before-seen sites were exposed. Said Tam: "In Talla, we have found perhaps the biggest Bronze Age ritual centre in our history. It seems to be a series of different types of burial sites, some of which we understand, but other circles of stone we have never seen before. Plans have been drawn for others to study and to try to throw some light on all of this."
The Talla sites appear not be under serious threat of being washed away, but that is not the case in Fruid. Here the water turbulence must be more aggressive, because the sites there are disappearing fast. Tam added: "We found a group of cairns showing where pre-historic people had their fields. But one site is a Bronze Age house dating over 3000 years ago. We managed to gather a lot of information, finds and soil samples from the site, but the water beat us."
Biggar Museum is setting up its own archaeology website. This will allow the world to be updated on their latest findings.
Source: Peebleshire News (29 January 2004)
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