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Date July 2016 - October 2016

Event ID 1022383

Category Recording

Type Excavation


NN 9929 9101 and NO 0170 8855 A fourth season of fieldwork was undertaken, July – October 2016, in Glen Dee, on the National Trust for Scotland’s Mar Lodge Estate, as part of a partnership project to characterise the nature of early prehistoric settlement which will ultimately inform woodland expansion strategies.

Sgòr an Eòin A team from the National Trust for Scotland, University College Dublin and the University of Stirling carried out two-days of survey work at Sgòr an Eòin in July 2016, with the second day heavily curtailed by poor weather. The work focused on providing a more in-depth understanding of the three lithic artefacts found in an erosive context during rapid walkover survey in 2015 and assessing the potential of good locations for palaeoenvironmental sequences in the immediate vicinity. The site is in a dramatic location, on a high terrace in Glen Dee.

The survey work in 2016 has expanded the lithic assemblage to 15 worked flints in total, all found within a tightly confined area at the edge of a small stream. They are limited in type: 11 are burnt fragments of flakes, three represent debitage and one is a retouched piece (broken, so not typologically identifiable). The assemblage is not chronologically diagnostic. No suitable deposits for palaeoenvironmental work were located.

Chest of Dee In October 2016 a team from the University of Aberdeen excavated a series of evaluative test pits and trenches as part of the department’s third year archaeology module. The primary objective was to continue the evaluation of the sites identified in 2013–15, establishing the density and character of prehistoric occupation along the banks of the river at Chest of Dee. Radiocarbon dating on samples from 2013–15 has shown occupation on the river banks extending back to the late 9th millennium BC. In 2016 investigation focused on testing areas not previously sampled, including areas on the S side of the river (Areas K and L) and Area M on the N side of the river, completing the evaluation of the N bank of the Dee between White Bridge and the Chest of Dee waterfalls. Test pits were also dug beyond the waterfalls, following the river westward.

On the S side of the river, testing at Area K (S of the waterfalls) showed the presence of possible occupation layers in two of three test pits. No lithic artefacts were recovered, but charcoal-rich horizons around 0.05m in

thickness were located at around 0.6m below the topsoil. Four test pits were also dug on the S side of the river in Area L, closer to White Bridge. One only revealed alluvial deposits, but two test pits revealed ephemeral features, possibly fire pits, while two small pieces of flint knapping waste were recovered from test pit TP 5200 in a sub-peat alluvial sand horizon. These lithics represent the first found on the S side of the river.

On the N side of the river a line of ten test pits was excavated in Area M (between Areas J and D, tested in previous years). Around 30 lithics were found in these test pits, concentrated in 3 test pits at the western end of

the line. All of the artefacts came from pre-peat alluvial sands, with over 20 pieces in TP 1100 within soil horizons and a possible pit-feature. The other concentration was in TP 1200 where lithics were found within a lower layer

of alluvial sand. The lithics in both TP 1100 and TP 1200 were associated with diffuse lenses of charcoal which were sampled for dating.

No lithic artefacts were identified in the small number of test pits dug beyond the waterfalls, but diffuse charcoal lenses in two test pits suggests some level of human activity upriver of the falls. Three test pits were also dug around the Late Neolithic-Bronze Age pit found immediately above the waterfalls in 2013, but did not identify any in situ deposits to help contextualise this unusual feature.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council, Society of Antiquaries of London, Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, Royal Archaeological Institute, University of Aberdeen, University College Dublin and Tony Clark Memorial Fund

SM Fraser, G Noble, G Warren and C Wickham-Jones – The National Trust for Scotland, University of Aberdeen, University College Dublin and University of Stirling

(Source: DES)

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