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Pit Defined Cursus (Neolithic)

Site Name Lochbrow

Classification Pit Defined Cursus (Neolithic)

Canmore ID 85092

Site Number NY08NE 34

NGR NY 09514 89350

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Johnstone
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Annandale And Eskdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NY08NE 34 09504 89370

For other features in this field, see NY08NE 26, NY08NE 36 and NY08NE 37.

Air photography (RCAHMSAP 1992) has recorded the cropmark traces of a pitted cursus on a level gravel terrace 300m NNW of Lochbrow steading (NY08NE 42). The full length of the cursus is not known, but it can be traced for a distance of at least 150m S from the bluff overlooking the River Annan on the N side of the field. The sides of the cursus lie about 20m apart, and a row of pits lying at right angles to this axis may belong to a transverse division rather than a terminal; at least one other line of pits can be seen on a slightly different axis.

Information from RCAHMS (SPH), 20 February 1996.

Pit-defined cursus.

RCAHMS 1997.

This pit-defined cursus is plotted on a distribution map of Neolithic monuments covering southern Scotland (RCAHMS 1997, 115, fig. 110).

Information from RCAHMS (ARG), 7 April 1998


Geophysical Survey (13 November 2010 - 11 September 2011)

NY 09514 89350 Geophysical and topographic surveys were undertaken 13–14 November 2010 and 8–11 September 2011 across the location of the cropmarks of a timber cursus, timber circles and round barrows at Lochbrow. The aim of these surveys was to investigate the nature and extent of the sites and monuments, as well as their wider context and topographic location. The gradiometer survey identified several anomalies of interest, including some possible post pits of the cursus, a previously unidentified round barrow, probable pre-modern plough furrows, a rectilinear magnetic anomaly of unknown origin, scattered pits, and magnetic anomalies, probably modern in origin.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Universities of York and Edinburgh, and RCAHMS 2011

Aerial Photographic Transcription (26 July 2012)

Geophysical Survey (23 September 2012 - 29 September 2012)

NY 09514 89350 A third season of geophysical survey was undertaken 23–29 September by the Lochbrow Landscape Project team. This work represents the continuation of surveys begun in 2010 (DES 2011, 59) with the aim of investigating the nature and extent of the sites and monuments, their wider context and topographical location, and landscape development. This year’s survey focused on the cropmark cursus, timber circles and round barrows, and began looking at the location of two cropmark palisaded enclosures recorded in the field to the S of the initial survey area. Both gradiometer and resistivity surveys on and around the location of the cropmark cursus, timber circles and barrows identified probable cursus and timber circle postholes, additional barrows not recorded as cropmarks, a general scatter of pits of unknown date, along with modern features. The gradiometer survey on a portion of the palisaded enclosures identified the palisade ditches of both enclosures known from cropmarks, and added additional detail to the recorded cropmarks.

This year, the project also worked with local volunteers from the Discovering Dumfries and Galloway’s Past project over four days. The volunteers carried out a small area of high resolution resistance survey in the N of the study area. They were joined by pupils from Johnstonebridge Primary School and Dumfries High School. More information about the Lochbrow Landscape Project can be found on the project website at

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Society of Antiquaries of London

Kirsty Millican, RCAHMS

Helen Goodchild, University of York

Dorothy Graves McEwan, University of Edinburgh


Geophysical Survey (12 September 2013 - 21 September 2013)

NY 09514 89350 A fourth season of fieldwork was undertaken 12–21 September 2013 by the Lochbrow Landscape Project team. This work represents the continuation of geophysical surveys begun in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (DES 2012, 58), the initiation of a programme of sediment coring and trial of an experiential methodology. The work focused on investigating the development of the sites and landscapes at and around Lochbrow by studying the location and wider context of a prehistoric cropmark complex consisting of a timber cursus, timber circles and barrows, as well as two palisaded enclosures.

In 2013 the gradiometer survey in the field containing the cursus, timber circles and barrows was completed, with a total of 83 miles of survey grids walked. The gradiometer survey of the field containing the two palisaded enclosures, to the S of the initial survey area, was continued and expanded to include the ring ditch and area around the sites. Targeted resistance and GPR surveys were also undertaken at key locations in the two fields. The survey successfully identified features known from cropmarks, added detail to those features and identified new features. This information is enabling the re-analysis of the aerial photographs and has led to the identification of previously unidentified features.

A pilot programme of hand auguring was initiated in 2013 with the aim of understanding the stratigraphy of the underlying deposits and their relationship to the development of the landscape. Key locations around the known sites were selected and initial results indicate that the auguring will provide useful information about the development of the landscape. A short trial of an experiential methodology was also carried out around the cursus and timber circle. This proved successful and it is hoped it will be further developed.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Society of Antiquaries of London

Kirsty Millican, RCAHMS, Helen Goodchild, University of York, Dorothy Graves McEwan, University of Edinburgh, 2013

(Source: DES)


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