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Alloa, Braehead

Shell Midden (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Alloa, Braehead

Classification Shell Midden (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Arnsbrae

Canmore ID 117453

Site Number NS89SE 90

NGR NS 8693 9370

NGR Description Centred NS 8693 9370

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council Clackmannan
  • Parish Alloa
  • Former Region Central
  • Former District Clackmannan
  • Former County Clackmannanshire

Archaeology Notes

NS89SE 90 Centred 8693 9370

A shell midden discovered by Mr W Neilson of Alloa on the edge of Braehead Golf Course close to the road from Cambus to Alloa.

Information from Mr W Neilson, Alloa 1997

NS 8693 9370. The Braehead Midden site lies on the edge of Braehead Golf Course, four to five metres above the road from Cambus to Alloa, which here forms the northern boundary of frequently flooded flat fields to the N of the Forth.

During small-scale borrow-pitting of soil for use on the golf course, at a piece of rough ground owned by the golf club a layer of shells and thick layers of soil were exposed some 40m N of the road. The work also exposed clay and course sand, underlying a thick layer of soil, halfway in height and distance between the road and the exposure of shells.

The midden is the most northerly and westerly known in the Forth Valley, and unlike most known sites Braehead lies to the N of the river.

A sample of scallop shells was submitted with a request to date the aragonite from the shells, rather than the calcite, because any calcite in the shell might well have crystallised from aragonite at a date well after the shellfish died, incorporating carbon contemporary with the time of crystallisation rather than with the life of the shellfish.

GU-4835 Braehead Midden, Sample 1 5880 +/-60 BP d13C = 0.9 ppm

Calibrated age ranges (Harkness 1983; Stuiver and Reimer 1986)

1 sigma cal BC 4365-4246

2 sigma cal BC 4470-4158

P Ashmore and D Hall 1997

NS 869 937 The midden, 600m ESE of the golf clubhouse, at the foot of a low bluff on a piece of waste ground owned by the Braehead Golf Club, was visited with Messrs J Pollock and A Finlayson of the club in September 1996. Recent soil borrow pitting had exposed a layer of oyster and other shells 0.3-0.4m thick on top of fine sand, to either side of a remaining knob of the slumped soil which had previously masked the layer. This soil may have originated in run-off from the rig system visible on the golf course, via a position further up the bluff overlooking the site. A bulk sample of the shell layer was collected and the possibility of further work is being considered.

Sponsor: Historic Scotland

D Hall and P Ashmore 1997


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