Barrow Cemetery and Settlement

Future research and investigation by TARRADALE THROUGH TIME in 2019 examined the site of a large barrow cemetery and large ditched enclosure to the west of Tarradale House. In the 1990s Professor Barri Jones excavated part of the enclosure site which he initially thought may have been a Roman fortification. However it clearly is not Roman and the evidence he found suggested a multi-period occupation from Mesolithic through to early medieval. He did not investigate or comment on the potential relationship between this enclosed settlement and the nearby barrow cemetery.

The University of Aberdeen (on behalf of NOSAS) undertook geophysical survey of the ploughed out area of Tarradale barrow cemetery. Results suggest a range of surviving features below the plough soil but also some discrepancy with the pattern of crop marks seen on aerial photographs. The barrow cemetery is one of the largest in Scotland and appears to have been used for a considerable period of time as the barrows within it (seen on aerial photographs) comprise large circular barrows, smaller circular barrows and square barrows.  The proposed evaluation will examine part of the barrow cemetery that has now been ploughed out (with potential features apparent on aerial photographs) and a small rough area that appears never to have been ploughed that may still contain original barrows though there is some suggestion of disturbance of that site for extracting sand and gravel.

Above: The barrow cemetery and the enclosure excavated by Barri Jones in the early 1990s - see report.

Above: Quadcopter aerial views by Andy Hickie - summer 2018. Below: Aerial by Andy Hickie with barrow plan by Juliette Mitchell of Aberdeen University superimposed.

See also the blog post. Once stripped, the ditches of the barrows and enclosures revealed in 3 large trenches was quite spectacular:

An account of the 3 week excavation as it unfolded can read in our blog posts. On the very last day we had a significant find, read more in the BBC Online story


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