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John O'groats

Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Site (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Flint(S) (Flint), Unidentified Pottery

Site Name John O'groats

Classification Burial Ground (Period Unassigned), Site (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Flint(S) (Flint), Unidentified Pottery

Canmore ID 69574

Site Number ND37SE 32

NGR ND 38 72

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/69574

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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Canisbay
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Caithness
  • Former County Caithness

Archaeology Notes

ND37SE 32 38 72.

Construction work on the site of the Highland and Island Development Board industrial estate led to the discovery of a large quantity of human bone in late February. In April a two week excavation of an area approximately 7m by 5m was conducted by Archaeology Projects Glasgow under the sponsorship of Historic Buildings and Monuments.

Two broad phases of activity were revealed. The first consisted of a massive slab pavement overlying approximately 0.5m of made-up ground. Aside from the paving and a few post-holes no structural remains were discovered. The limited area examined could have been either an interior surface or an exterior paving.

The second phase consisted of a burial ground. Six intact skeletons were discovered as well as a mass of scattered disarticulated human bone (2242 identifiable fragments). Two burial rites were represented. Two extended inhumations were oriented with their heads to the NE and are probably earlier than the four extended inhumations with their heads to the W. In places it was clear that the disarticulated bones have been collected and stacked together.

Pottery, worked flints and animal bones were recovered from both phases. The pottery included sherds of Late Bronze Age, Late Iron Age (Broch type), Late Iron Age (Pictish) and Norse vessels. Few Norse sherd were found in the settlement contexts, so it may be assumed that burial began in the Pictish or Norse period. The worked flint was closely comparable with that from Pool, Sanday (HY63NW 17). Cattle, deer and possibly seal were identified among the animal bones. Radiocarbon dates for the human bones are awaited.

Sponsor: SDD HBM.

S Driscoll 1989b.

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