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5 June 2014
Bronze Age settlement discovered near Aberdeen

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an Iron Age settlement on the grounds of a proposed road and car park near Aberdeen (Scotland). Remnants of timber roundhouses and historic smithing materials have been dug up; pottery from the early Bronze Age has also been recovered from the field where construction work to ease traffic congestion along the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road is due to begin.
     Excavators were tasked with carrying out investigatory works as part of a condition attached to planning permission for the site in Dyce. The initial archaeological evaluation revealed a range of archaeological features which needed further examination.
     Aberdeen City Council employed AECOM and Headland Archaeology to dig up a relatively undisturbed piece of ground in an area where prehistoric finds had been uncovered in the past. Archaeologist Eddie Bailey said it was 'remarkable' to see how the land was continually used by historic settlements. He said: "Domestic occupation in the area has been found in the form of the remains of timber constructed roundhouses, with hearths and remnants of compacted floor and activity surfaces, which so far seem to indicate prolonged occupation on the same site, with phases of rebuilding occurring. The site appears to have been significant over a 2,000 year period with Iron Age occupation and evidence of smithing and domestic life. Partial quern stones, used for grinding cereal crops, have been found along with metal working residues and puts containing probable fire rakings of meals and every day life.
     Archaeologist Steve Thomson added: ""The continuity of use of the land is remarkable," he said. "Clearly a sense of place was important, not purely for practical reasons. Seeing the landscape, even today, helps the team understand why it was a focus for so long for continued use."
     The archaeology team has been working on land near Aberdeen International Airport on the outskirts of the city. Evidence of industrial, agricultural and domestic activity dating from the early Bronze Age (2300 BCE) through to the 1800s was uncovered. The excavators will now analyse the finds with the help of experts and write a report on the dig. The Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel, which will eventually hand the recovered objects over to a registered museum.

Edited from The Scotsman (3 June 2014), Culture24 (4 June 2014)

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