Picking apart the prehistoric from the post-medieval

Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Bronze Age, LiDAR, Public archaeology, Survey
Picking apart the prehistoric from the post-medieval

We were back out at Broubster today, an area with significant post-medieval settlement remains as well as lots of prehistoric features. A ‘busy’ landscape like this is all the more difficult to pick apart and understand, as we have to try to work out which features are ancient and which less so! We recorded a number of further hut circles, some of which are likely to be Bronze Age, but others are more likely to be Iron Age, such as the example shown below; a wall extending outwards from the entrance is a good clue that a site that appears at first glance to be Bronze Age in date may in fact be later. We also recorded a hut circle that made use of an outcrop of bedrock in its wall, giving it a rather irregular shape.

hut circle

This site is a great example of a hut circle, although we suspect that this one may be Iron Age in date as it has a wall running to the south-east from the entrance

On of the Bronze Age’s most enigmatic site types is the burnt mound. These are characteristic of the Bronze Age, but their exact function is the subject of great debate – beyond that they were for heating water, there is no conclusive evidence to tell us exactly how they were used! Were they for cooking, or bathing perhaps? The site photographed below was previously known, you can see the record on Canmore here.

burnt mound

Burnt mound at Broubster

While there were lots of prehistoric sites to be recorded today, we couldn’t resist having a quick look at some of the post-medieval features including this lovely circular enclosure (top) and this possible corn-drying kiln (bottom).


Post-medieval sheepfold


Possible corn-drying kiln

Volunteer Chris brought out his drone yesterday and today, and took some aerial pics of some of the sites; you can see a few of them here. Thanks Chris!

Thanks so much to everyone who has come out with us so far – we are halfway through an exciting week of exploration. Do join us if you can! And remember about the evening event tomorrow at Castlehill Heritage Centre, with Stratford Halliday giving a talk on Bronze Age Landscapes.

Leave a Reply