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Brownsbank Farm

Lithic Scatter (Palaeolithic), Lithic Scatter (Mesolithic), Unidentified Pottery (Neolithic)

Site Name Brownsbank Farm

Classification Lithic Scatter (Palaeolithic), Lithic Scatter (Mesolithic), Unidentified Pottery (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 216532

Site Number NT04SE 70

NGR NT 080 430

NGR Description Centred NT c.080 430 and 080 435 and 082 436

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/216532

Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Biggar
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NT04SE 70 centred c.080 430

NT 080 430 (centre) Continuing fieldwalking in the area (DES 2000, 84) has produced quantities of lithics including pitchstone and flakes of type VI axes. Scatters of Early Neolithic carinated bowl pottery were investigated. One further location has produced a significant quantity of sherds. The charcoal from the previous excavation has been dated (see radiocarbon report, 126).

Interim report lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Biggar Museum Trust.

T Ward 2001

Results of previous fieldwalking are recorded as NT04SE 61.

Information from RCAHMS (GJW) 10 June 2002

NT 080 430 (centre) As part of the Pre-History North of Biggar Project, several further fields have been walked (DES 2001, 90). Numerous flint and chert scatters were retrieved, including some modified pieces.

Sponsor: Biggar Museum Trust.

T Ward 2003

Fieldwalking NT 080 435 (centre) This field has been walked in the past and has produced a variety of lithic types (DES 2003, 122). In 2004 a number of chert and flint microliths and small blade cores were found, indicating Mesolithic activity in the area. Also, for the first time, Early Neolithic sherds were found and several pitchstone flakes. A large selection of other flint and chert artefacts were retrieved including scrapers, knives, arrowheads and axe flakes. An area which produced a number of flint tools thought to be Late Neolithic is being excavated to test for any remaining archaeological

deposits.

T Ward 2005

Activities

Field Walking (2001)

NT 080 430 (centre) Continuing fieldwalking in the area (DES 2000, 84) has produced quantities of lithics including pitchstone and flakes of type VI axes. Scatters of Early Neolithic carinated bowl pottery were investigated. One further location has produced a significant quantity of sherds. The charcoal from the previous excavation has been dated (see radiocarbon report, 126).

Interim report lodged with the NMRS.

Sponsor: Biggar Museum Trust.

T Ward 2001

Field Walking (2003)

NT 080 430 (centre) As part of the Pre-History North of Biggar Project, several further fields have been walked (DES 2001, 90). Numerous flint and chert scatters were retrieved, including some modified pieces.

Sponsor: Biggar Museum Trust.

T Ward 2003

Field Walking (2005)

Fieldwalking NT 080 435 (centre) This field has been walked in the past and has produced a variety of lithic types (DES 2003, 122). In 2004 a number of chert and flint microliths and small blade cores were found, indicating Mesolithic activity in the area. Also, for the first time, Early Neolithic sherds were found and several pitchstone flakes. A large selection of other flint and chert artefacts were retrieved including scrapers, knives, arrowheads and axe flakes. An area which produced a number of flint tools thought to be Late Neolithic is being excavated to test for any remaining archaeological

deposits.

T Ward 2005

Note (January 2017)

Stone tools

You would be forgiven for driving along the A702 in South Lanarkshire on your way home to Biggar without knowing you were in a landscape containing some of Scotland’s earliest archaeological evidence. Although the surrounding countryside is now rich agricultural farmland, archaeologists have discovered that people were living here as early as 12,000 years ago during the last ice age. That’s around 360 generations ago. Archaeologists call this period the Late Upper Palaeolithic.

Four and a half miles north-east of Biggar, just off the A702, there is a place known as Howburn Farm. Between 2003 and 2005 members of the Biggar Archaeology Group discovered significant numbers of stone tools and flakes during field-walking and excavation here and at Brownsbank Farm. These tools were made out of flint and chert; where most were grey in colour, a handful were dark-brown, orange, red, yellow and even purple. A detailed specialist examination of the stone finds was funded by Historic Scotland. After analysing the technological details of the manufacturing process, the specialists concluded that Howburn Farm was in fact the first known open-air Upper Palaeolithic site in Scotland. This was confirmed when two pieces, originally thought to be two separate tools, fitted together to make the tip of a tanged point measuring just over 5 cm in length and up to 20mm in width. Tanged points are typically triangular or leaf-shaped in form and are designed to attach to a wooden shaft. This artefact, and other pieces in the group, showed both technological and typological parallels to Late Glacial sites from Denmark and Germany which date to around 12,000 years ago.

Food and hunting

Other archaeological sites across Britain suggest that Late Glacial people could have been living a nomadic hunting lifestyle. Evidence from cave deposits in the Inchnadamph area of Sutherland (NC21NE 1) in the far north-west of Scotland indicates that both reindeer and wild horse were hunted. Similar evidence from south-west England suggests that red deer and cattle type animals also contributed to the human diet.

So, the next time you travel along the A702 past Howburn Farm, imagine seeing a group of hunters pausing here to process some raw flint and chert into useable tools before following a herd of migrating reindeer into the distance.

Maya Hoole - Archaeology InSites project manager

Field Walking

NT 082 436 As part of the Prehistory north of Biggar project an assemblage of flint tools was retrieved from fieldwalking and excavation and has been identified as of Early Mesolithic date. The collection, which has been compared to Star Carr type Early Mesolithic assemblages, consists of broad blades and microliths. The site is unique in being so far inland, coastal sites being the norm in Scotland for such finds. Charcoal from pits will be C14 dated. A report has been prepared by Alan Saville and Torben Ballin on this important discovery.

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