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Sanday, Meur

Burnt Mound (Prehistoric)

Site Name Sanday, Meur

Classification Burnt Mound (Prehistoric)

Canmore ID 282775

Site Number HY74NW 9

NGR HY 7465 4571

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/282775

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

  • Council Orkney Islands
  • Parish Lady
  • Former Region Orkney Islands Area
  • Former District Orkney
  • Former County Orkney

Archaeology Notes

HY74NW 9 HY 7465 4571

Burnt mound HY 7465 4571 An emergency excavation was carried out in February 2005 of a suspected burial monument, which was exposed by storms on the coast by Meur. Excavation revealed the site to be a burnt mound with surviving structural components, including a central tank within a space defined by orthostats, another compartment of orthostats, and a corbelled water cistern with an outflow drain, as well as the stony debris forming the mound itself.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

R Toolis

Activities

Excavation (February 2005)

Burnt mound HY 7465 4571 An emergency excavation was carried out in February 2005 of a suspected burial monument, which was exposed by storms on the coast by Meur. Excavation revealed the site to be a burnt mound with surviving structural components, including a central tank within a space defined by orthostats, another compartment of orthostats, and a corbelled water cistern with an outflow drain, as well as the stony debris forming the mound itself.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: HS.

R Toolis

Excavation (3 September 2013 - 10 September 2013)

HY 74733 45810 A limited excavation was carried out, 3–10 September 2013, on a mound at the N end of the grounds of Meur as part of ongoing community archaeological training by Sanday Archaeology Group. The site was selected as it is threatened by coastal erosion, which has already revealed charcoal and shell-rich midden deposits on the W side of the mound. It is located c50m N of the Meur burnt mound (HY74NW 9).

A 6 x 4m trench was excavated on the summit of the mound, revealing a suite of features. This included a collapsed wall or stone bank, edge-set slabs, a cobbled area and a shallow ditch infilled with midden-rich material. Preliminary findings indicate these features overly earlier midden deposits. Finds included prehistoric pottery fragments.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: C Parker

Catherine Parker, Sanday Archaeology Group, 2013

(Source: DES)

Excavation (30 June 2014 - 16 July 2014)

HY 74650 45710 The SCAPE Trust and local volunteers reexcavated a complex Bronze Age burnt mound now situated on the beach at Meur, dismantled the remains and reconstructed it at the new Sanday Heritage Centre. This community project was undertaken, 30 June – 16 July 2014, and formed part of the SCAPE Trusts Scotland’s Coastal Heritage at Risk Project.

The site was first excavated by AOC Archaeology Group in 2005 under the terms of the Historic Scotland human remains call-out contract, following the exposure of a stone cist in severe winter storms. The excavation revealed a stone trough associated with stone compartments and a corbelled stone cistern surrounded by a mound of fire-cracked stone and

dark soils. Once it was clear that the site was that of a burnt mound not a burial, the excavation characterised, recorded and sampled the remains before reburying them. Three radiocarbon dates on bone in fill deposits indicate that the mound was used between 1120 and 420 BC.

In 2013, residents of Sanday, concerned about the continuing damage to the site from winter storms, proposed a community project to re-excavate the site in order to dismantle and relocate it from its perilous location on the beach to the new Heritage Centre, where it would create an interesting visitor attraction.

In July 2014, the site was re-excavated and new information recovered. The corbelled cistern was found to be a well, the lower metre of which comprised waterlogged organic deposits containing visual evidence of plant macrofossils and insect remains. The dismantling of the stone tank and stone cells revealed an earlier phase of the building including a circular

wall. Beneath the stone tank the top of an earlier (possibly) corbelled structure was revealed. This is yet to be excavated. A small number of finds were recovered including pottery, animal bone, pumice and struck stone. A comprehensive environmental sampling strategy was implemented, including sampling to establish an age model for the site.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended). Website: http://scharp.co.uk/projects/

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Crown Estate

Joanna Hambly – The SCAPE Trust

(Source: DES)

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