New Discoveries at Traprain Law
Edited from "Iron Age 'nerve centre' uncovered on hill" by Angie Brown, The Scotsman
New findings at Traprain Law, near Haddington, include the first coal jewellery workshop unearthed in Scotland as well as hundreds of artefacts giving new insight into life in the 700BC-AD43 era. Experts who have been working on the site for several weeks are now able to paint a picture of a densely populated hilltop town which was home to leaders of local tribes, following the discovery of multiple ramparts, Roman pottery, gaming pieces, tools and beads.
Fraser Hunter, the curator of Iron Age and Roman at the National Museums of Scotland (NMS), said pottery found at the site proved that in AD80-400 Traprain Law's inhabitants had regular contacts with Roman visitors, highlighting the importance of the area.
"The finds confirm the importance of Traprain in the Iron Age. This was a major craft centre, with jewellery being cast in bronze and carved out of oil shale. The whole site is more complex and densely fortified than we originally thought. Our finds show it was the power centre of East Lothian from the multiple ramparts we have found and the fragments of Roman objects which tell us this site was important as it had affiliations with the Romans.
"Our excavations confirm that the site thrived during the Roman period, with the inhabitants having access to a wide range of Roman goods which are otherwise very rare in Scotland. We are also very excited to find a workshop where cannel coal was carved into jewellery. We knew this vegetable-based coal was used to make bangles and beads but nobody had ever found a workshop where it was made.
"It brings the Iron Age to life to know where they stood making these objects and gives us a vivid insight, which we have not had until now."
Experts at the latest excavation, the largest since 1923, have also produced the first detailed plan of the hill using new global positioning satellite equipment to chart the 50 hectare area.
Posted by Rhiannon
28th July 2004ce
Edited 12th November 2004ce