MHG39815 - Cists with Burial, Dirlot


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • BURIAL (Early Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 1501 BC) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

About a year ago during sand quarrying operations four cists were exposed. The cists were found in a line along a sandy ridge which has now been completely removed. They contained crouched burials and two urns were also found. The bones and one urn (the other was unfortunately smashed) were taken by the police and sent to Aberdeen University.
The approximate find spot was pointed out by Mr Munro (foreman, Dirlot sand quarry) and sited to ND 1353 4923.
Visited by OS (W D J) 12 April 1961.

The first cist, found in July 1960, contained a skeleton, a leaf-shaped flint arrowhead, and a food vessel.
R E MacCuallum 1962.

(ND 1353 4923) Cists found AD 1960 (NAT)
OS 6" map, (1963)

No further information.
Visited by OS (J B) 16 March 1982.

Radiocarbon dates from the 4 skeletons were obtained as part of the Beakers and Bodies Project and published in 2009, under the site name 'Sandhill, Dalmore, Halkirk'. These dates were 2140-2020 BC, 2130-1970 BC, 2120-1950 BC and 2120-1920 BC, calibrated to 1 sigma, and indicated Early Bronze Age dates. <1>

The four sets of human remains are listed on the University of Aberdeen Museums and Collections catalogue under Acc. Nos. ABDUA:14233-14234, 14747-14748. Also listed are an antler, two flint flakes, a bronze spike and a food vessel (ABDUA:14794-14797, 19728). These can be searched on their online catalogue. <2>

There is an archive file for human remains within the University of Aberdeen's Marishal Museum.<3>

The skeletons from the four cists were dated and analysed by the Beaker and Bodies Project (B&BP). Cists 1 and 2 were also dated and analysed by the Beaker People Project (BPP). Results are as follows (all dates to 2 sigma, 95% probability):
Cist 1: 2020-1770 cal BC (BPP - SK39), 2140-1920 cal BC (B&BP). Female, 26-45, Food vessel, leaf-shaped arrowhead
Cist 2: 1920-1740 cal BC (BPP – SK40), 2200-1960 cal BC (B&BP). Male, young adult
Cist 3: 2140-1930 cal BC (B&BP; in BPP as SK343). Female, young adult
Cist 4: 2140-1950 cal BC (B&BP; in BPP as SK344). Male, 25-35.
The strontium-isotope ratios of the bodies in cists 1 and 2 were similar. They were not from the area they were buried in, but a local origin could not be ruled out (p. 395). Osteological analysis showed that the man buried in cist 2 had Spondyloysis (separation of the posterior part of the vertebra caused from repeated bending and lifting) (p. 431-2).
The BPP project called the findspot Dalmore (not to be confused with Dalmore, Ross & Cromarty (MHG6311) which also features in B&BP), while B&BP project called the findspot Sandhill, Dalmore, Halkirk. <4>

Sources/Archives (6)



Grid reference Centred ND 1353 4923 (6m by 6m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND14NW
Civil Parish HALKIRK
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

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