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Hallow Hill, St Andrews

Long Cist Cemetery (Early Medieval)

Site Name Hallow Hill, St Andrews

Classification Long Cist Cemetery (Early Medieval)

Canmore ID 32900

Site Number NO41NE 8

NGR NO 4930 1565

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

NO41NE 8 4930 1565.

A group of 20 cists, supposed to form part of a larger surrounding number not yet examined, were recently (c.1867) found on a piece of ground called Holy Hill (?Hallow Hill) on the rising ground at the side of the Kinness Burn, St Andrews.

The cists were long and the bodies had been laid at full length. None contained urns but one cist, shorter than the others, contained the remains of a young person and the following objects;- "A small circular vessel of glass, less than two inches in height, of a pale green colour and beside it fragments of broken glass of a white colour which probably formed another similar vessel. There were also a fragment of what may have been a ring of glass coated with yellow enamel with red spots in it; a bit of smooth greenstone, less than three inches long, like a whetstone, a bit of bone with a hole as if to receive a knife, another smaller bit of perforated bone with a slender socket of bronze inserted; a fragment of thin bronze like the point of a knife; a perforated stone disc 1 1/2" in diameter; many smooth pebbles and a fragment of jet.

In digging among the other cists flint flakes and a broken stone celt or hammer, were found. Teeth of horses, oxen and sheep were found in large quantities. (These cists are stated to be on "the opposite side of the valley" to the Bronze Age urnfield at Law Park see 9 SW 29).

J Stuart 1867

Area NO 4940 1565. From the above information, there seems little doubt that Hallow Hill is the location of burial ground described, although the exact spot of discovery was not ascertained, during investigation. Visited by OS (JLD) 17 October 1956

No further information.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 29 May 1964

Excavations were undertaken at Hallow Hill from 1975 to 1977, following the discovery of long cists in the garden of a new house on the hill. A complex of long cists and other graves was revealed, part of an unenclosed burial gound of Early Christian date. Part of the cemetery was loosely organised, while elsewhere the cists were arranged in well-ordered rows. An unusual two-tier boulder-edged grave were found; no burial survived in the upper level; in the lower level an incomplete burial of a child was accompanied by Roman and other objects, a combination similar to that in a well-recorded cist uncovered in the 19th-century explorations. Other features included a cobbled road through the site, post-holes and possible structural remains, all affected by centuries of cultivation. The site has been equated on topographic and toponymic evidence with the lost Early Christian site, Eglesnamin. Radiocarbon dates for a number of cists calibrate generally to between the sixth and the ninth centuries AD.

EVW Proudfoot 1996

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