MHG13613 - Bronze Age cist burial - Craig-na-Feich, Achavanich

Summary

A Bronze Age cist burial containing a single, exceptionally tight crouched burial of a young woman with accompanying grave goods including: a short-necked Beaker, a bovine scapula, two flint flakes and a tiny thumb-nail scraper.

Type and Period (1)

  • CIST (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The discovery of a cist during rock extraction for road improvement works at Craig-na-Feich in Achavanich was reported to Highland Regional Council in February 1987. On the 19th of February the cist was subject to a rescue excavation by the Highland Council Archaeology Unit led by Mr Robert B Gourlay. The cist consisted of a single, exceptionally tight crouched burial of a young woman. Accompanying grave goods included a short-necked Beaker, a bovine scapula, two flint flakes and a tiny thumb-nail scraper. The beaker decoration was created by a bone comb; the teeth marks are clearly visible. <1> <2> <3> <4> <5> <6> <7> <8> <9> <10> <11> <12> <13> <14> <15> <16> <17> <18> <19> <20> <21> <22> <23> <24> <25> <26> <27> <28> <29> <30> <31> <32> <33> <34> <35> <36> <37> <38> <39> <40>

The human remains were examined by Mary Harman who summarised that this was the skeleton of a young woman aged between 18 and 22 years of age who was approximately 5’ 5½” (1.67m) tall. The surviving cranium was noted as exceptionally short and broad with a very high cranial index. <41>

The contents of the beaker were analysed by Dr Brian Moffat of SHARP who, from a preliminary examination, suggested that it contained: prepared cereal grain, honey, added flowers and fruit (including meadowsweet, bramble & wood sage), and the sap of birch and alder trees.

The skeleton was radiocarbon dated to 3700±50 BP (collagen from femur: BM-2590, 2200-2020 cal BC at 68.2%, 2280-1940 cal BC at 95.4% probability), as part of the British Museum Beaker dating project.


Moffat, Brian (Text/Report). SHG26994.


<1> Highland Regional Council, 1987, 'The Achnavanich Cist Burial', Highland Council Archaeology Guide (Text/Publication/Article). SHG2993.


<2> Gourlay B, 1988, A Bronze Age Beaker from Achnavanich (Text/Manuscript). SHG2279.


<3> Gourlay, R, 1987, Interior detail prior to excavation (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4288.


<4> Gourlay, R, 1987, Detail of interior after capstone has been removed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4298.


<5> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - after excavation (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4308.


<6> Gourlay, R, 1987, Interior - after removal of skull (for safety reasons) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4291.


<7> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - after removal of capstone and front stone (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4301.


<8> Gourlay, R, 1987, Excavated cist from above (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4311.


<9> Gourlay, R, 1987, Capstone and slates - from above (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4292.


<10> Gorurlay, R, 1987, Detail of interior after capstone has been removed - close up view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4302.


<11> Gourlay, R, 1987, Excavated cist - general view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4312.


<12> Gourlay, R, 1987, Cist - interior showing flint (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4296.


<13> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - after excavation (capstone, frontstone and inhumation removed) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4306.


<14> Gourlay, R, 1987, General view prior to excavation (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4287.


<15> Gourlay, R, 1987, Cist - interior showing flint (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4297.


<16> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - after excavation (capstone, frontstone and inhumation removed) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4307.


<17> Gourlay, R, 1987, Interior - after removal of skull (for safety reasons) - closer up (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4290.


<18> Gourlay, R, 1987, Detail of interior after capstone has been removed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4300.


<19> Gourlay, R, 1987, Cist - interior excavated, from above (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4310.


<20> Gourlay, R, 1987, Interior - after removal of skull (for safety reasons) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4289.


<21> Gourlay, R, 1987, Detail of interior after capstone has been removed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4299.


<22> Gourlay, R, 1987, Capstone - from above (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4295.


<23> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - interior (showing position of bones) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4305.


<24> Gourlay, R, 1987, Site of burial cist: stone cut rock hole (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4315.


<25> Gourlay, R, 1987, General view - after clearance of surrounding rubble (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4293.


<26> Gourlay, R, 1987, Detail of interior after capstone has been removed - close up view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4303.


<27> Gourlay, R, 1987, Excavated cist - general view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4313.


<28> Gourlay, R, 1987, Top slates - removed (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4294.


<29> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - interior (showing position of bones) (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4304.


<30> Gourlay, R, 1987, Site of burial cist - stone cut rock hole (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4314.


<31> Gourlay, R, 1987, Burial cist - general view (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG4309.


<32> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26981.


<33> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26982.


<34> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26983.


<35> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26984.


<36> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26985.


<37> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26986.


<38> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26987.


<39> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26988.


<40> Highland Regional Council, 1987, Achavanich beaker prior to reconstruction (Image/Photograph(s)). SHG26989.


<41> Harman, Mary, 1987, Achavanich, Caithness: Human Remains (Text/Report). SHG26993.

Sources/Archives (42)

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred ND 1783 4333 (4m by 3m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet ND14SE
Civil Parish LATHERON
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (3)

  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • BEAKER (Undated) + Sci.Date
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (1)

External Links (2)

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