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Barrow (Period Unassigned), Cist (Bronze Age), Midden(S) (Neolithic), Palisade (Period Unassigned), Pit Group (Neolithic), Axe (Stone)(Neolithic), Unidentified Pottery(S) (Neolithic)

Site Name Wellhill

Classification Barrow (Period Unassigned), Cist (Bronze Age), Midden(S) (Neolithic), Palisade (Period Unassigned), Pit Group (Neolithic), Axe (Stone)(Neolithic), Unidentified Pottery(S) (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 355298

Site Number NO01NW 183

NGR NO 02582 15906

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Perth And Kinross
  • Parish Dunning
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Perth And Kinross
  • Former County Perthshire


Excavation (11 June 2015 - 12 June 2015)

NO 02582 15906 After the success of our fieldwork at Wellhill in 2014 (DES 2014, 163–164), where evidence for Early Neolithic settlement and agricultural practice was revealed, the focus for our investigations moved to the adjacent field to the north. The cropmark showed a ring ditch provisionally interpreted, when scheduled in 2000, as a ploughed down Early Bronze Age burial mound. To the S and E of the ring ditch and outside of the scheduled area are what appeared to be a cluster of pit/posthole features.

A 2100m2 excavation trench was machine stripped, 11-12 June 2015, and it was evident that there had been significant truncation to the site by pre-1952 ploughing. A programme of excavation was then carried out, 20 June – 10 July 2015. The character of the pit cluster may be distinguished from the quarry pit alignment excavated in 2014, and consists of midden pits probably associated with crop processing. A total of 197 sherds of Early Neolithic pottery were recovered from the pits, together with a fragment from a Group VI polished stone axe from Great Langdale, Cumbria. Other artefacts included flakes of flint and Arran pitchstone.

An area of surviving silt within the palisade ditch has been provisionally interpreted as the partial footprint of a burial mound. This has been determined on the basis that the mound protected the silt from being eroded away by the extensive truncation caused by ploughing. A stone cist was set within this area of silt.

The character of the palisade ditch in the scheduled area suggests that it was a bedding trench to support a weak fence structure with narrow entrances to the E and S. The fence structure would have been largely self-supporting. If the initial interpretation that the silt within the palisade has survived as the partial footprint of an earthen mound/ barrow, then it appears that it was constructed in the NE sector of the enclosure. The barrow was encircled by a

palisade with two entrances. The stone cist structure had been disturbed, with the retaining stones to the E and W removed by ploughing. Any capstone would have suffered the same fate. The stones to the N and S had also been disturbed and damaged. A cradle of small stones was created within the cist upon which was placed the burnt bone. The compaction of the burnt bone indicated that the deposit may have been secured within an organic container, which has not survived. Pending radiocarbon dating the cist burial has been interpreted as Bronze Age in date.

Archive and report: National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE)

Funder: Historic Scotland


Dene Wright - University of Glasgow

(Source: DES, Volume16)


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