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25 March 2004
Kist unearthed while ploughing in Orkney

An Orcadian farmer has unearthed on his land at Howe Farm in Harray (Orkney, Scotland) what is believed to be a Bronze Age burial kist. Despite kists being quite common in Orkney, Historic Scotland called in AOC Archaeology from Edinburgh to carry out the excavation at the end of last week.
     AOC project officer Ronan Toolis said: "The machinery went over the kist and broke through the top slab. It was reported to Historic Scotland and they called us in." Ronan and project supervisor Martin Cook travelled to Orkney on Friday and found a stone kist grave, in effect a stone box. "It is actually very well constructed and inside was a small deposit of cremated bone. We would expect it to be human, although it is still to be analysed," Ronan said. He continued: "The bone was in a small pile, it may have originally been in a bag that has since rotted away."
     The kist measures about 1.5 metres long, by 60cm wide and was 70cm below the ground surface. Samples have been taken from the kist and surrounding area in a bid to date the burial. The bone material will also be assessed to see how many individuals were buried, their age, sex and health. "We suspect the grave could be Bronze Age as we found a bit of melted metal within the kist," Ronan said. The grave has been taken apart by the excavators and recorded.

Source: The Orcadian (18 March 2004)

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