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East Bearford

Settlement (Iron Age)

Site Name East Bearford

Classification Settlement (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 56406

Site Number NT57SE 16

NGR NT 55445 74095

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


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

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Haddington
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT57SE 16 NT 55445 74095

NT 554 741. Air photographs (RAF CPE/Scot/UK257: 3124-5) reveal, at a height of about 150ft OD, on East Bearford farm, the cropmark of a single-ditched, approximately square enclosure, measuring about 200ft along each axis, with a fairly broad ditch. This is one of at least twenty rectilinear ditched enclosures in Mid- and East Lothian which are superficially comparable with the Iron Age timber-house sites of the Northumberland coastal plain.

G Maxwell 1970

NT 5545 7410. No trace was found on field investigation. The site lies in an arable field on the edge of a natural bank sloping westwards down to the Bearford Burn.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 23 October 1962

Settlement, East Bearford: Further aerial photographs have been taken by the RCAHMS in 1976, 1981, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1995. Also visible on CUCAP air photograph.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Scheduled as East Bearford, enclosure.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 22 February 1994.


Geophysical Survey (August 2000 - January 2002)

Geomagnetic surveys have been carried out over a sample of 30 cropmark sites in the vicinity of Traprain Law, comprising Phase 1 of the Traprain Law Environs Project.

In the majority of cases (23 out of 30), the surveys have confirmed the presence on the ground of the enclosures shown on aerial photographs, often with very clear results. In a number of cases, the surveys have produced evidence of probable internal and/or external features which were not immediately visible on air photographs, while in other cases, the presence of these additional features has been confirmed. Several of the sites investigated appear to represent more than one phase of archaeological activity.

In the 7 cases where cropmark sites have not been readily identified, this appears to be due to a number of factors. In only one instance does the underlying igneous geology appear to be the main factor; while in several cases, anomalies not immediately relatable to the previous cropmarks were detected and might well prove be of archaeological significance.

The work reported here brings to a conclusion Phase 1 of the Traprain Law Environs Project.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsors: Historic Scotland, University of Durham, and Dickinson College, Pennsylvania.

Duncan Hale and Colin Haselgrove.

Project (2000 - 2004)

A project investigating the nature and development of later prehistoric and Roman Iron Age settlement in a 15 by 10 km block of landscape around the major fortified hilltop site at Traprain Law in East Lothian.

Excavation (November 2002 - July 2003)

The Traprain Law Environs Project is investigating the settlement and economy of the landscape around Traprain Law during the 1st millennia BC and AD. Since 2000, geophysical surveys have been conducted on 30 neighbouring cropmark sites, which have been followed up by a series of evaluation trenches and open-area excavations.

(NT 555 741) East Bearford. Rectilinear enclosure occupying the top of a terrace at 55m OD, 100m E of Bearford Burn and 2km W of Traprain Law. The main enclosure ditch measured c 4m wide and 2m deep, with a steep inner face. A gully cutting the top of the ditch contained a large rim sherd of Iron Age tradition Cool Type II pottery. A number of other features detected by geomagnetic survey outside the enclosure were also investigated; these are currently undated but are likely to be of similar date.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsors: HS, British Academy, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

P Carne, D Hale and C Haselgrove 2003


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