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20 May 2013
Scottish island hints at undiscovered burial sites

Evidence of previously undiscovered historic burial sites may have been found on the Scottish island of Iona. A geophysical survey revealed signs of burial to the south of the village, and at Martyr's Bay. Both will be excavated at a later date.
     The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) survey was the first to focus away from the island's Columban monastic enclosure and the Benedictine Abbey.
     The study was carried out by Doctor Sue Ovenden and Alastair Wilson, and examined two areas - one close to the current village hall and south of the Nunnery, and the other at Martyr's Bay. The area close to the village hall appears to show features of recent or natural origin which will be excavated later this year. The more interesting result came from Martyr's Bay, where skeletal remains were excavated in the 1960s from a mound by the roadside.
     Of the Martyr's Bay site, the trust's head of archaeology, Derek Alexander, said: "The geophysical survey shows that on the landward side, this mound may have been revetted (walled) by stones and surrounded by a shallow ditch. This could be a sign of burials. It's possible that this mound has some connection to another graveyard that's marked on an old map, known as Clad Nan Druineach. It has always been suggested that there are numerous burial sites on Iona, and there have been various finds over the years - the most famous of which is in the graveyard at Relig Odhrain to the south of the Abbey."

Edited from BBC News, Scotsman.com (17 May 2013)

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