MHG58909 - Neolithic House - Kinbeachie


A scatter of plough-truncated pits or post-holes contained within an area 30 by 30 m in extent. Only one structure was identified, a rectangular arrangement of post-holes which is interpreted as a timber building. Small assemblages of pottery, worked stone and carbonized crop plants were recovered and the site is interpreted as a relatively short-lived agricultural settlement. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the site was occupied at some time between 3500 and 2920 cal bc.

Type and Period (2)

  • BUILDING (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • PIT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

After a series of archaeogical discoveries at Kinbeachie farm since 1993 (See MHG28605; MHG14720; MHG29926), in 1997 an evaluation was undertaken by Headland Archaeology to assess the condition, extent and natures of the archaeological remains. In total, ten trial trenches were opened, but only one, trench 5, contained significant features, consisting of a conentration of truncated pits and postholes containing Neolithic artefacts. This trench was subsequently extended to reveal the full extent of the features and to allow excavation of them as they were likely to be destroyed by continued ploughing. Two distinct groups of features could be distinguished: a rectangular structure and a group of intercutting large pits.

The principle feature, the rectangular feature, consisted of an arrangment of shallow pits which formed a 7m by 4m rectangle aligned NE-SW. The outline of the structure was incomplete with two corners missing, however this is likely due to heavy truncation of the structure from ploughing, with the average surviving depth of cuts 0.12m, and thus only the deeper cuts are likely to have survived. The cuts were 0.5m to 0.7m across and may be interpreted as the bases of post-holes dug to take timber uprights, although no evidence for postpipes or post packing was recorded. Pottery and flint flakes were recovered from five of the post-holefills and the only high concentrations of carbonized cereal grains were also identifed from this structure.

6m to the west of the rectuangular structure was a group of four evenly spaced, intercutting pits in a curving line, between 0.8m- 1m in diameter and up to 0.3m deep, making them larger than most pits in the excavated area. Their proximity suggest they were roughly contemporary, and sherds from the same pot were distributed across them. They contained relatively large quantities of flint flakes and pottery, with one pit containing a small polished stone axehead, with indications that a large rounded stone man have been deliberately placed over this axehead.

Six radiocarbon dates were obtained from the excavated features, three from postholes of the rectangular structure, two from the pit group, and one from a post hole of pit. These were calibrated to 1 sigma, and produced a Neolithic date ranges between 3500 BC- 2920 BC. All of the artefacts recovered from the excavations were consistant with a Neolithic date for the site, including a Neolithic Impressed Ware assemblage. This was very fragmented and abraded, but 16 vessels were identified, with 8 coming from the rectangular structure, 5 from the pit group, and three from other other pits on the site. An assemblage of 23 worked stone was recovered, rising to 50 when the worked stone from previous field walking was added. The entire assemblage is generally undiagnostic, but did include typically Neolithic types such as a leaf shaped arrowhead, serrated blades and the polished stone axehead. Three types of cereal grains were present from the carbonised plant remains identified from 19 samples. These were primarily naked barley with much lesser quantities of emmer wheat and a few grains of hulled barley. Seeds of agricultural weeds and plants from non-agricultural habitats were almost totally absent.

Kinbeachie is a small site, with only two recognised features. The signifcance of these features within the site is enhanced by the distribution of artefacts and carbonized grain recovered during excavation. However, interpretation is hampered by the severe plough truncation of the whole site, after which only the bases of deeper cuts survive. The simplest interpretation is perhaps that the site was a small farming settlement comprising one or more small rectangular timber buildings. <1>

See link below to the published PSAS paper of the site for full excation report, radiocarbon dates and full discussion of the site. This article also includes analysis of materials from the previous investigations and activity at the site.

The excavation assemblage from Headland's work was submitted to Treasure Trove (TT 90/01) and allocated to Inverness Museum. See attached Summary Sheet. <2> <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 6260 6249 (40m by 42m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH66SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish RESOLIS

Finds (3)

  • SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • POLISHED AXEHEAD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • WORKED STONE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2401 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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