The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Loudon Wood (Stone Circle)

Vandalism at Louden Wood Stone Circle


Discovered on July 23, 2018

Today, making my first visit to Loudon Wood Stone Circle for five years, I was appalled to find the site desecrated by the remains of a campfire: in the centre of the monument's court were the blackened remains of the fire, complete with a huge pile of litter.

Whoever the thoughtless uneducated louts that perpetrated this atrocity were, there must have been quite a contingent of them judging by the quantiy of residue they left behind. This consisted of two disposable barbecues, numerous plastic bottles and wrappers (some still containing the remains of cold meat) and, worst of all, glass beer bottles, many of which had been smashed to pieces (presumably deliberately).

It is heartbreaking to see such an iconic, Historic Environment Scotland Scheduled Monument defaced in this way.

As I had visited on a very warm day, in shirtsleeves and without a rucksack or any other container with which to remove the detritus, I satisfied myself by carrying out the two largest items (the foil barbecues).

Can I appeal to anyone planning to visit Loudon Wood Stone Circle in the weeks ahead to equip themselves with a suitable container (such as a reusable supermarket shopping bag) to help clear the site. There is a bin at the White Cow Wood car-park where the contents may be deposited.

Scotland (Country)

Archaeologists unearth amazing finds on Aberdeen bypass


Artefacts and structures found during archaeological excavations on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project are shedding light on land use and settlement in the north east over the past 15,000 years, including Mesolithic pits, Roman bread ovens, prehistoric roundhouses and a cremation complex.

Full story here.

Alkmaar Paardenmarkt (Burial Chamber)

The excavation of the Paardenmarkt Alkmaar


In June-August 2010 large scale excavations were executed on the cemetery belonging to the monastery, an area now termed the Paardenmarkt, by Hollandia Archeologen in cooperation with Leiden University. During the course of nine weeks, the students from the former minor Human Osteoarchaeology excavated and cleaned over 180 single coffin burials and 20 secondary inhumations. Interestingly, also two mass graves dating to the Siege of Alkmaar with 9 and 22 individuals were encountered. All the remains are housed in the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and are currently undergoing the osteological analysis.

Read more about this in English.

Moray

Archaeologists discover Pictish remains at Moray fort


New Pictish remains have been discovered at a fort thought to have been largely destroyed by a 19th-century development.

Archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen uncovered a longhouse and an 1,100-year-old anglo Saxon coin in a dig at Burghead Fort near Lossiemouth, Moray.

Experts believe the fort was a significant seat of power within the Pictish Kingdom, dating between 500 CE and 1000 CE.


Read the STV News Report.

Isle of Skye

The Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland


https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/

I have spent some time examining this database, which was released into the public domain in June 2017, most particularly with respect with the area I am most familiar with: The Isle of Skye.

You would have anticipated that, following five years in its compilation, this atlas would be fully comprehensive. Despite claiming to be an atlas of hillforts, the 51 entries for Skye consist of an eclectic mix of hillforts, promontory forts and brochs. In total there are actually over 90 such sites on the island known to me, though to be fair, the Atlas does include seven entries that are not indicated on the OS maps, and which are new to me.

The actual selection of sites shows remarkable inconsistency. Along the east coast of Sleat, at the south of Skye, are the sites of at least ten known promontory forts yet the Atlas includes only four! In Waternish in the north, brochs Dun Gearymore and Dun Hallin are included yet Dun Borrafiach which lies between them is not. In Duirinish, Dun Colbost is included while the much more deserving Dun Boreraig is not. The latter is a particularly fine example of a coastal broch. These selections defy reason.

And most curious of all, just across the water on the mainland, the Atlas lists Eilan Donan Castle, apparently on a whim, because it: "may have occupied the site of an earlier fort" (something that has not been established).

Personally, I'm mightily disappointed. Canmore is far more comprehensive and will remain my primary source of information on hillforts. It is to be hoped that other areas within the British Isles have been much more carefully compiled, and provide the user with all the information they require.

United Kingdom

Hill fort hotspots in UK and Ireland mapped for first time in online atlas


For the first time, a detailed online atlas has drawn together the locations and particulars of the UK and Ireland’s hill forts and come to the conclusion that there are more than 4,000 of them, mostly dating from the iron age.


You can access this new database at

https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/

The Netherlands (Country)

6000 Year Old Intact Skeleton found in Nieuwegein


Nieuwegein is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of Utrecht.

It was reported on January 31, 2017 that, in a thick layer of clay on the site of a new business park in Nieuwegein, archaeologists had found a nearly intact skeleton dating from approximately 6000 years ago. The location had already yielded pots and jewellery from the Swifterbant Culture (5300-3400 BCE), named after the village of Swifterbant in the Flevopolder, where the first finds were made.

Although the skeleton looks almost intact, it is remarkable that the bones are not all in their logical positions. Why the skeletal parts have been moved out of anatomical context is unclear: possibly they became disorganised through earth movements.

The original Dutch Report includes a photograph of the cast in which the skeleton was removed.

Here's another illustrated report with a photograph showing archaeologists uncovering a third skeleton from the site.

The Cochno Stone (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

New excavation


A prehistoric stone panel said to be the “most important in Europe” is being unearthed for the first time in 50 years - next to a housing estate in Clydebank. The Cochno Stone, which dates to 3000BC and is described as one of the best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings in Europe, is being fully excavated for the first time since being buried in 1965 to protect it from vandalism. The stone lies on land next to a housing estate near Faifley in West Dunbartonshire.

Read more information.

Dunnicaer (Promontory Fort)

Archaeologists unearth 'oldest Pictish fort in Scotland' on Aberdeenshire sea stack


Radiocarbon dating shows the Dunnicaer fort to have belonged to the 3rd/4th centuries CE.

This report appeared in Herald Scotland on July 28, 2015..

Scotland (Country)

Hunter-gatherers roamed Cairngorms 10,000 years ago


Excavations at sites deep in the glens, on the National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS) Mar Lodge Estate in Aberdeenshire, have produced radiocarbon dates which demonstrate a human presence as far back as 8,100 BCE.

Report:
The Scotsman
BBC News

News

Pictish Coastal Fort discovered near Stonehaven


A team from Aberdeen University are examining the Dunnicaer sea stack near Stonehaven – and believe their discovery could have been a “precursor” to Dunnottar Castle.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/551385/archaeologists-discover-pictish-fort-near-stonehaven/
A keen hillwalker most of my life, my interest was restricted when the need arose to care for an ageing parent.

With limited opportunities to travel far from home, I 'discovered' the world of stone circles, mainly in my native Aberdeenshire.

This provided the ideal opportunity for short walks of just a few hours duration, and resulted in me visiting many places of interest that I had never considered previously.

Website:
Stone Circles of NE Scotland
Here you will find both Google and Bing maps displaying more than 100 sites of stone circles, the majority in my native Aberdeenshire. The markers on the maps are clickable, to reveal a photo of the stone circle and a link to their Canmore Site Record.

A menu at the side of the maps allows you to zoom in to any individual circle, viewing its environs as a zoomable aerial photograph (Google) or an OS Map (Bing).

Hunebedden
I've since extended my interest to the megalithic remains in The Netherlands, where there are some magnificent passage graves known as hunebedden (giant's beds). Despite the fact that The Netherlands is essentially flat and sandy, these 5000 year old monuments from the Funnel Beaker Culture are often found in exquisite woodland settings, nearly all of them in the province of Drenthe. There are almost limitless opportunities for delightful walks between small villages, taking in a diversion to a hunebed here and there.

My TMA Content: