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Clachan Burn

Pit(S) (Period Unassigned), Pit Enclosure (Prehistoric), Ring Ditch(S) (Period Unassigned), Arrowhead (Flint)

Site Name Clachan Burn

Classification Pit(S) (Period Unassigned), Pit Enclosure (Prehistoric), Ring Ditch(S) (Period Unassigned), Arrowhead (Flint)

Alternative Name(s) Annieston Farm

Canmore ID 48696

Site Number NT03NW 61

NGR NT 0014 3650

NGR Description From NT 0014 3650 to NT 0008 3637

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Symington (Clydesdale)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Clydesdale
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NT03NW 61 0014 3651 to 0011 3638.

Geophysical survey and trial excavations were carried out on this site [in 1992] in advance of a proposed gravel quarry development. Nine trial trenches were placed over selected resistance anomolies and archaeological features identified from oblique aerial photographs.

The photographs show two ring ditches and a line of pits as definite archaeological features, whilst also indicating other less distinct features as more probably of natural origin.

Trenches 1 and 3 were cut through the south-western arcs of the northern and southern ring ditches, respectively. The northern ring ditch had an overall diameter of 11m to 12m. Of this the ditch was 3m to 4m wide and 1.1m deep, thus leaving an internal area of 3m to 6m in diameter. The width and depth of the ditch, coupled with the small internal area, suggest that it may have been a ritual rather than domestic site, of a type broadly datable to the second millennium BC.

The southern ring ditch was of less substantial construction, being 1.1m wide and 0.36m deep. Although it was roughly the same overall diameter, 11m to 12m as the eastern ring ditch, the narrower enclosing ditch leaves an internal area 9m to 10m in diameter. It contained sherds of coarse pottery which can be broadly dated to the second millennium BC. These were located on the inner side of the ditch, suggesting that they were derived from activity inside the ring ditch.

Not only are the dimensions of the two ring ditches different, but also their profiles, and fills. This may suggest that they fulfilled different functions. The northern one probably had a ritual function, possibly as an enclosed cemetery or mini-henge. The southern ring ditch is more likely to represent the foundation trench of a timber roundhouse. Without further excavation a more definite interpretation cannot be advanced.

To the NW of Trench 3, Trench 4 located one of a line of pits that were observed on the aerial photograph. This seems to have contained packing stones for an upright timber and may represent a single element in a line of posts or fence. No artefacts were recovered from this tench

but its close proximity to the southern ring ditch suggests that the two sets of features are related.

The remaining trenches contained no archaeological features. The geophysical anomolies here seem to result from differences between the underlying subsoils, coupled with varying depths of topsoil.

A small chert assemblage was recovered, mostly from the topsoil.

Sponsor: Lovie Ltd (Starmin Scotland).

CFA 1992.

(NT 001 364 area). [Further] excavation [in 1995] revealed three ring-ditches, a large pit-ring and a number of isolated features. All the archaeological remains were negative features, indicating truncation of the site. The excavated ring-ditches all had a diameter of 12m, but probably served different functions, as their forms differed. Ceramic evidence suggests a minimum of two periods of human activity at the site, separated by a millennium or more.

The ditch of the northern ring-ditch (trench 1) was between 3m and 4m wide and over 1m deep at its deepest. There may have been a demolished stone feature at the entrance to the ring-ditch or a rubble causeway across the ditch. The, 3m to 4m diameter, internal area contained a pit, and two further post-pits were located outside the eastern entrance. Examination of the nature of the fills of the ditch indicates deliberate backfilling. One of these fills contained sherds of approximately middle Iron Age pottery of a similar fabric to that found in the ring-ditch in trench 2. This monument is almost certainly ritual in character.

The southern ring-ditch (trench 2) was around 1m wide and between 0.3m and 0.4m deep, with an entrance to the E. The enclosed area was about 9m diameter. Pottery from the ditch fill was also of middle Iron Age date and some was of the same fabric type as that recovered from the northern ring-ditch (trench 1). A large pit-defined enclosure, centred on two large pits and based on the southern ring-ditch, may have been the remains of a corral. An arc of ditch, associated with the ring of pits, was thought to be the remains of a shelter. A number of other pits were less regular in their arrangement. One of these pits contained a sherd of Beaker pottery.

The third ring-ditch (trench 4) had a stonier fill and, upon excavation, proved to be segmented. This, combined with the 'lipped' entrance suggests that it was a house, typologically of Bronze Age date. The absence of post holes is puzzling, but may indicate substantial truncation of the remains.

An assemblage of worked and unworked chert was recovered from the ring-ditches in trenches 1 and 2. The tip of a flint arrowhead was recovered from the fill of the ring-ditch in trench 2.

Sponsor: Tinto Sand and Gravel Ltd.

T Neighbour 1995.

Two ring-ditches and a row of pits, visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs (RCAHMSAP 1986) were verified by trial trenches dug in 1992 in advance of a proposed gravel quarry. Further work was carried out in 1995, including the excavation of the two ring-ditches, and a larger area was opened up around the row of pits, revealing that they formed part of the perimeter of a large pit-defined enclosure. An additional ring-ditch was also discovered, and, although no dating evidence was obtained, its ditch proved to be of segmented construction (NT 0008 3645).

The northernmost ring-ditch (NT 0014 3650), which is defined by a ditch 3m-4m broad and over 1m deep, is plotted on a distribution map of henge monuments and penannular ring-ditches covering southern Scotland. However, calibrated radiocarbon dates from samples obtained from the ditch fill indicate that it is of Iron Age date, and may be a round-house. The steep outer face of the ditch profiles are remarkably similar to those of the round-houses excavated at Douglasmuir in Angus, and the rubble found at the entrance, which may be interpreted as a cobbled causeway, is comparable to the paving found at the base of the ditches at Douglasmuir (NO64NW 38).

The southernmost ring-ditch (NT 0008 3637) lies at the SE corner of the pit-defined enclosure, and measures about 8m in diameter within a ditch 1.1m broad and 0.4m deep. A radiocarbon date from samples stratified within the ditch fill produced a radiocarbon date calibrated to the first half of the first millennium BC, and pottery recovered from the ditch fill is of Iron Age date. The relationship between the ring-ditch and the enclosure is uncertain, but what may have been a pit of the enclosure was visible as a 'shallow cut' in the base of the ring-ditch, perhaps indicating that the enclosure is the earlier.

The enclosure measures about 32m from N to S by 28m transversely and is roughly subsquare on plan. Over fifty pits define its perimeter, and some of them probably contained timber uprights. Two pits lie at the centre and there is a scatter of others, one of which contained a sherd of Beaker pottery. Two samples from the pits of the enclosure produced calibrated radiocarbon dates at the beginning of the fourth millennium BC, but a third has been dated to the middle of the first millennium BC. This enclosure is plotted as a large ritual enclosure on a distribution map of Neolithic monuments covering southern Scotland.

Information from RCAHMS (ARG), 3 April 1998.

RCAHMS 1997.

The larger of the two ring-ditches is plotted on a distribution map of henge monuments and penannular ring-ditches covering southern Scotland (RCAHMS 1997, 116, fig. 111).

Information from RCAHMS (ARG) 30 September 1998.

RCAHMS 1997.


Aerial Photographic Transcription (6 May 1992 - 7 May 1992)

An aerial transcription was produced from oblique aerial photographs. Information from Historic Environment Scotland (BM) 31 March 2017.


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