- Regional Archaeological Context
- Fieldwork - 2002/2003
- Fieldwork - 2004
- Specialist Reports - 2004
- Geophysics Survey - 2004
- Specialist Report 2004 - Animal Bone
- Specialist Report 2004 - Charcoal
- Specialist Report 2004 - Fish Bone
- Specialist Report 2004 - Marine Mollusc
- Specialist Report 2004 - Amphibian Bone
- Specialist Report 2004 - Land Snails
- Specialist Report 2004 - Charred Plant Remains
- Specialist Report 2004 - Assessment Report on Small Finds
- Specialist report 2004 - Report on the Pottery
- Specialist Report 2005 - Report on the Human Remains
- Specialist Report 2005 - The Mammal Bone Assemblage (Methodology and Analysis of Bone by Context)
- Specialist Report 2005 - The Mammal Bone Assemblage (Butchery at High Pasture Cave)
- Specialist Report 2005 - Mammal Bone Assemblage (Interpretation & Comparison with other Assemblages)
- Specialist Report 2005 - Charcoal Analysis
- Specialist Report 2005 - Fish Bone and Marine Mollusc Report
- Specialist Report 2005 - Preliminary Analysis of Pollen and Spores from High Pasture Cave, Skye
- Specialist Report 2005 - Small Finds Assessment
- Specialists Report 2006 - Small Finds Assessment
Specialist Report 2004 - Charred Plant Remains
Posted by steven on 27/04/2005 at 08:14 PM
A PRELIMINARY SCAN OF THE CHARRED PLANT REMAINS FROM HIGH PASTURE, SKYE
Peter Rowley-Conwy - University of Durham
C 001 disturbed
Six samples of cereals are available from this context, HP 0024, 0025, 0026, 0027, 0028 and 0029. All contain considerable quantities of barley, Hordeum vulgare. Preservation is for the most part very good indeed, and many of the grains are clearly hulled. No definitely naked grains were observed, but it is quite possible that some naked grains were present but not seen during the scan, and/or that some of the less well preserved grains might have been naked. No other species of cereal was detected, but again it is possible that some are present. What can be said with considerable confidence is that the samples comprise overwhelmingly hulled barley.
The image above shows charred barley grains (hulled), while below are fragments of burnt hazel nut shell
A small sample of hazel nut shell fragments is also present.
C 002 and C 003 trench 1
Single large samples are available from each of these (HP 0072 and 0083). These are dominated by hulled barley, in all respects similar to the samples described above. Small samples of hazel nut shell fragments are also present from both.
Smaller samples comprising a few barley grains and a few hazel nut shell fragments are available as follows:
C 004 trench 1
C 005 trench 1
C 006 trench 1
C 007 trench 1
C 008 trench 1 (hazel only, no barley)
Samples C 001, 002 and 003 are large and pure. The similarity suggests that despite being from a disturbed context, C 001 can really be considered as a primary sample, not a later chance inclusion.
The purity of the samples as they stand is remarkable. It will be necessary to consider whether methods of recovery might have influenced this (e.g. were some small weed seeds sieved out?) – but it can be stated that the barley is certainly not a waste product. This sort of sample is usually encountered only when a store of cleaned grain has been accidentally burnt down, or some similar accident has taken place.
It is on the face of it hard to see how such an accident could be responsible for these samples, given their location inside High Pasture Cave. One possibility worth examining is therefore that these cereals are in some way a ‘ritual’ deposit, analogous to the pig bones from the same contexts.
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