|24 December 2014
Iron Age settlement reveals story of prehistoric Scottish communities
Archaeologists say a large early Iron Age roundhouse with commanding views of Edinburgh, built in two phases of wattle and daub walls with a hearth at its centre between 600 and 400 BCE, could have been abandoned due to political or social upheaval in prehistoric Scotland.
Ravelrig Hill hosts the two-terrace settlement, where an oval palisaded enclosure once surrounded the roundhouse. Ring-grooves cut through the underlying bedrock revealed the building, while charcoal and domestic waste were discovered alongside grain grinders, barley and hazelnut shells, suggesting that arable farming and wild foraging took place near wild woods at a time when the farming industry was growing.
"The palisaded homestead at Ravelrig shares similarities with other settlements in eastern Scotland, indicating a continuation of settlement type and construction methods from the Late Bronze Age into the Early Iron Age," says Christine Rennie, of the investigating GUARD Archaeology group. "The analysis of pollen from Ravelrig bog has concluded that the same period, 600 - 400 BC[E], when the Ravelrig palisaded settlement was occupied, coincided with agricultural intensification, and so may demonstrate the renewed expansion of settlement into the uplands during the first millennium BC[E] observed elsewhere in eastern Scotland."
Radiocarbon dating at the hillfort of Kaimes, to the south-west of Ravelrig, suggest that it may have superseded the site in around 400 BCE, with residents preferring a more populous and defensive base to the single household settlement.
Edited from Culture24 (11 December 2014)
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