New Finds from the 2008 Fieldwork Season

Posted by steven on 09/06/2008 at 08:12 PM

Click on the link to see just a few of the latest small finds to be recovered from the High Pasture Cave excavations.....

Excavations at the High Pasture Cave site in Skye are now well underway and we are starting to see a steady trickle of small finds from the different trenches we are excavating. In particular, Trench 19, which is investigating the nature and extent of the burnt mound and spreads in the northern sector of the site, has produced some nice finds.

The images above and below show the two sides of a copper-alloy coin found in the upper layer of the burnt mound in Trench 19. Unfortunately, without cleaning and conservation it is difficult to make out any definate markings, but there appears to be a little text, a possible bust on one side and a amorphous shape on the reverse. The coin is sub-circular and varies in thickness. Could this coin be Roman?

The leaf-shaped arrowhead or invasive point, shown above and below, is manufactured from Baked Mudstone and was also recovered from Trench 19 (from the disturbed soils above the upper burnt mound). The raw material from which this item has been manufactured can be found in a seam above the rock shelter at An Corran, near Staffin. This artefact adds to a growing corpus of small finds including flint tools and isolated pottery sherds that relate to episodes of earlier activity at the site, during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods

The following three images show the glass bead recovered from the upper burnt mound deposits in Trench 19. We are waiting feedback from Dr. Fraser Hunter at the National Museums Scotland for further details relating to the type of bead and its possible age, along with information relating to the copper-alloy coin

We have also recovered a significant collection of metalworking residues from Trench 19, which includes smelting or smithing slag, and several sherds of plain pottery. A possible pot-lid manufactured from stone, a quarter of a rotary quern stone (upper stone) and several coarse pebble tools have also been recovered from the trenches under excavation. However, the last major find to be made to date was recovered from a trial trench to investigate a possible ditch or pit feature in the east sector of the site. The partly-finished polished stone axe (see images below) was found in a secondary context in the upper fill of the pit feature and is a classic find from the Neolithic period.

The axe has been manufactured from a fine-grained pale buff-coloured stone. The flaking scars from the original shaping of the axe can be seen in the images and these are quite crude. Polishing of the object had started, but had failed to remove these deep scars and had not quite formed the cutting edge of the tool. It is possible that work was stopped on the manufacture of the object when it was realised that the scars were indeed too deep to remove.

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Posted by on 19/06/2008 at 05:20 PM

Hi Steve, long time no see ! im well into burnt mounds, ive recently excavated several at Bangor, Gwynedd and Willington in Derbyshire some of which have been C14 dated to Neolithic. The glass bead is great too, a cache of similar was found also at Bangor though i dont know any further info, may be worth asking GAT at Bangor ? You’ve got a great project going up there! Im working mainly in the Peak at present on pipeline watching briefs though just stripped a 50 x 50m area and 10 trenches adjacent to Navio fort near Hope and only found a single furrow! oh well its a great place to be. Regards to all, Rob

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