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Doon Hill

Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Timber Hall(S) (Neolithic)

Site Name Doon Hill

Classification Enclosure (Period Unassigned), Timber Hall(S) (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 57668

Site Number NT67NE 63

NGR NT 68700 75530

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NT67NE 63 68700 75530.

(NT 6867 7552) Anglo-Saxon Hall (NR) (site of).

OS 6" map, (1971).

This site was first noticed on CUCAP air photographs, and was excavated by Dr Hope-Taylor from 1964-6. He showed that two timber halls (see plans) had stood successively on the same piece of ground, within a polygonal palisaded enclosure, of two corresponding structural phases. Before the construction of the halls, the site had been used as a cremation cemetery; a small square enclosure in the N part of the area appears to have been related to these burials, and so may have been a ritual structure. It is not clear whether this survived into the period of the palisaded enclosure. At a later stage a group of inhumation burials was set in place outside the palisade. The palisade itself was made of split logs, set in the ground in alternate halves with a continuous timber fence running between them.

Hall B was built after A had been destroyed by fire, and was positioned very exactly within the foundations of A. Hall B was rectangular, with an annexe at its w end. It is in many respects precisely parallel by the halls of the Oswald phase at Yeavering (NT 92 NW), and so must belong to the period around 640 AD.

Hall A was built in a different style. It was some 75ft long, with a floor in the centre each long wall, and was divided internally by two rows of three vertical posts, so that it consisted of a large compartment in the middle with a smaller one at each end. Each of the gable walls was laid out as a very obtuse V.

This hall had undergone successive repairs and must have stood for at least fifty years, and more probably a century. It can therefore be suggested that Hall A represents a native, British (pre-Anglo-Saxon) style of architecture. (cf Balbridie: NO79NW 16).

N Reynolds 1980; D M Wilson and D G Hurst 1967; Curr Archaeol 1980; RCAHMS AP catalogue 1976; G Ritchie and A Ritchie 1981.

(Carbon dating of samples from the Balbride timber structure indicate that it is Neolithic in origin, rather than an Early Historic building as previously suggested)

Information from I Ralston 1982.

RCAHMS (SO) 2003

Site surveyed at 1:2500 (while excavations were in progress).

Visited by OS (RD) 7 April 1966.


Watching Brief (25 May 2012)

(NT 6870 7551 and NT 6871 7558) A watching brief was undertaken on 25 May 2012 during the excavation of two small trenches for information boards. No significant archaeological finds or deposits were recorded. However, as the pits and slots associated with the various configurations of halls and boundaries are relatively close to the present ground surface future work should be considered as sensitive.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Historic Scotland

OASIS ID: kirkdale1-310752

Gordon Ewart, Kirkdale Archaeology 2012


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