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St Andrews, North Street

Inhumation(S) (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Pottery

Site Name St Andrews, North Street

Classification Inhumation(S) (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Pottery

Canmore ID 109506

Site Number NO51NW 282

NGR NO 5134 1673

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish St Andrews And St Leonards
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO51NW 282 5134 1673

For war memorial see NO51NW 206

NO 5134 1673 The St Andrews War Memorial was demolished early in 1996, because of long-term damage caused by subsidence. As part of this and prior to rebuilding, a watching brief, from ground level, was carried out.

From 1.6m below the surface human bones were located, many retrieved only after disturbance by the contractor's machinery. At this stage it could be seen that several burials were at the base of a deep deposit of sterile back soil, while others were at a lower level in sticky brown soil.

Remains of 142 individuals were recovered, some disturbed previously, perhaps during construction the War Memorial or at an earlier date. Slight traces of a building were identified.

A second phase of work was carried out jointly by St Andrews Heritage Serivces and SUAT during June and July (see below).

Sponsors: St Andrews Heritage Services, NE Fife Council, Historic Scotland.

E Proudfoot 1996

NO 5134 1673 During June and July 1996 SUAT undertook an excavation in partnership with St Andrews Heritage Services, with the purposes of recording and recovering inhumations described above, and recording any other surviving archaeological features. This revealed a complex sequence of activity and deeper than expected archaeological deposits. The sequence has been divided into seven phases of activity in post-excavation analysis.

Natural deposits were encountered at c 3.2m below the present ground surface. The earliest remains encountered

consisted of a large pit dug into the natural sand. Overlying this was a series of thin, silty deposits incorporating trampled material, which appeared to represent yard surfaces. Remains of bonfires were present on these surfaces.

This area had been used for inhumations in the medieval period and several articulated skeletons were recorded and

excavated. The burials were possibly wrapped in shrouds, although no evidence of textiles or shroud pins was detected. There was no evidence for coffin burial. In a later phase, dated by pottery and other artefacts to the late 16th to 18th centuries, some of the graves had been emptied and backfilled with sandstone rubble, probably derived from a demolished building nearby. Subsequent to this, a N-S wall was constructed. Later deposits contained lenses of marine mollusc shell fragments, probably derived from the net-cleaning activities of local fisherfolk. The small assemblage of medieval pottery from the excavation is dominated by East Coast Redware and East Coast White

Gritty Ware. Post-medieval pottery was also recovered. Metal artefacts were scarce, but artefacts of stone, glass and wood were found. An assemblage of stone objects includes architectural fragments, a hone and several roof slates.

Sponsor: NE Fife Council, Historic Scotland

A Cox 1996


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