MHG60873 - Neolithic pit cluster - Fortrose and Rosemarkie Waste Water Works


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Type and Period (2)

  • PIT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC) + Sci.Date
  • PIT CLUSTER (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC) + Sci.Date

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A desk-based assessment and archaeological watching brief was undertaken by Ross and Cromarty Archaeological Services (RoCAS) in 2012 at the site of the Fortrose and Rosemarkie Waste Water Works. Thirty-nine pit features were recorded and excavated during the fieldwork. Features 11, 12 and 13 formed a short, discrete line of pits. F11, measuring 1m x 0.85m x 0.28m deep, and F13, measuring 1.05m x 1m x 0.5m deep, were similar in size. F11 had a single fill, which contained fire-cracked stones, a non-diagnostic piece of burnt flint and a diverse carbonised botanical assemblage, including alder and hazel charcoal, hazel nutshell and significant numbers of bread wheat and barley. It was radiocarbon dated to 3634-3526 BC, calibrated to 1 sigma (SUERC-51489). F13 had two fills, the upper of which contained fire-cracked stone, a variety of charcoal types and a few grains of bread wheat and barley, together with fragments of hazel nutshell. Of most significance was the presence of carbonised seeds of cultivated flax. Pottery sherds were also recovered from this layer, which have been ascribed to the Early-Middle Neolithic period. The lower layer contained pottery from the same era, together with a nondiagnostic flint flake and a few fragments of willow charcoal. Two radiocarbon dates were obtained: 3651-3536 BC and 3632-3521, calibrated to 1 sigma (SUERC-51490 and SUERC-51491). F12 was a smaller pit, measuring 0.5m x 0.4m x 0.2m deep. Its single fill included birch and alder charcoal, traces of barley and wheat grain, hazel nutshell fragments, a chip of flint, quartzite fragments that are most likely natural and Early-Middle Neolithic pottery sherds. Birch charcoal dated from this feature produced a medieval date, AD 1280-1383 (calibrated to 1 sigma, SUERC-51488). However, its position between F11 and F13 and the presence of significant numbers of charred hazel nutshell fragments and sherds of Early- Middle Neolithic pottery suggest that the charcoal was intrusive and the pit is in fact contemporaneous with F11 and F13.
Feature 14 was a possible stake-hole located a short distance to the west of F13, an Early Neolithic pit. It is possible that this feature is related to the grain processing that was taking place in features 11-13. <1> <2>

The excavation assemblage from the site was allocated by Treasure Trove (TT 186/14) to Cromarty Courthouse Museum. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 7308 5710 (4m by 5m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH75NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (3)

  • CEREAL GRAIN (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • SHERD (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2401 BC)
  • FLAKE (Neolithic - 4000 BC? to 2401 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (1)

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