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28 February 2014
Bronze Age woman found in Highland woods

Aged between 40 and 44 at the time of death, the remains found in a cist at Cullaird Wood in West Torbreck near Inverness (Scotland) two years ago are believed to be those of a woman who died between 1982 and 1889 BCE and was ritually buried in a Highland funeral.
     The grave goods aimed at assuaging her path to the afterlife included seven fragments of flint and a beaker unusual in its lack of decoration.
     Maureen Fitzgerald, of the investigating team, said: "Despite the use of cists spanning a period of at least 300 years, many similarities exist such as location, orientation of burial and material used, suggesting that local traditions may have existed which continued over many decades. However, each cist is unique in some way and the West Torbreck burial is no exception. For instance, pottery vessels are not always included in cists. In this case, a beaker found in the West Torbreck cist was evidently part of the burial rites and its function was to accompany the individual to the afterlife. Although a few others have been found in north-east Scotland, they are generally rare in Scotland and Britain as a whole."
     The area appeared important for prehistoric groups from early times. The cist is located within an area rich in prehistoric remains, many of which have only been discovered within the past few years.
     The nearest archaeological site is the Torbreck stone circle, approximately 200 metres east. This small stone circle consists of nine upright stones and two outliers, which are thought to be the remains of an outer circle.

Edited from The Scotsman (14 February 2014), Culture24 (18 Februaty 2014)

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