Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The Neolithic timber hall at Balbridie, Grampian Region, Scotland: the building, the date, the plant macrofossils

  • Alan D. Fairweather (a1) and Ian B.M. Ralston (a2)
Abstract

Excavation of a cropmark in northeast Scotland revealed a substantial timber hall of the general form one expects from the early medieval period. Yet it turned out to be Neolithic in date! The structure produced copious quantities of charred cereal grains from contexts intimately associated with its destruction. Accelerator dates confirm the integrity of selected species with the period of use of the building. Hexaploid wheat and cultivated flax were both identified.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bakels, C.C. 1979 Linearbandkeramische Früchte und Samen aus den Niederlanden, Archaeo–Physika 8:110. (Festschrift Maria Hopf.)
Bond, C.J.M. & Hunter, J.R. 1989 Flax–growing in Orkney from the Norse Period to the 18th century, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 117:175–81.
Boyd, W.E. 1988 Cereals in Scottish antiquity, Circaea 5:101–10.
Charles, M.P. 1984 Introductory remarks on the cereals, Bulletin of Sumerian Agriculture 1:1731.
Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. & Moore, P.D. 1987 Flora of the British Isles. 3rd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dickson, C.A. 1983 The macroscopic plant remains p.114 in Hedges, J. Trial excavations on Pictish and Viking settlements at Saevar Howe, Birsay, Orkney, Glasgow Archaeological Journal 10:73124.
Dubouloz, J., Ilett, M. & Lasserre, M. 1982. Enceinte et maisons Chalcolithiques de Berry–au–Bac, La Croix Maigret (Aisne) in Le Néolithique de l’Est de la France: Actes du Colloque de Sens 27–28 sept. 1980: 193206Société archéologique de Sens Cahier 1.
Edwards, K.J. & Ralston, I.B.M. 1984. Postglacial hunter–gatherers and vegetation history in Scotland Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: 114–34.
Erroux, J. 1976. Les débuts de l’agriculture en France: les céréales in Guilaine, J. (ed.), La Préhistoire frangaise 2: Civilisations neolithiques et protohistoriques: 186–91. Paris:Editions du CNRS.
Gluza, I. & Wasilykowa, K. 1977. Flora of the Pleistocene and the Holocene in archaeological excavations in Sokolowski, S.(ed.), Geology of Poland2 (part 3b): 105–22. Warsaw.
Godwin, H., 1975 The history of the British flora: a factual basis for phytogeography2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gowen, M., 1988 Three Irish gas pipelines: new archaeological evidence in Munster2nd ed. Dublin: Word well Academic.
Helbaek, H., 1952 Early crops in southern England, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 18: 194233.
Hlllman, G., 1981 Crop husbandry: evidence from macroscopic remains in Simmons, I.G. & Tooley, M.J. (ed.), The environment in British prehistory 183–91. London: Duckworth.
Hope-TAYLOR, B.K., 1977 Yeavering: an Anglo–British centre of early Northumbria London HMSO: Department of the Environment Archaeological Report7.
Hope-TAYLOR, B.K., 1980 Balbridie … and Doon Hill,Current Archaeology 7 (72): 1819.
Jacomet, S. & Schlichtherle, H. 1984 Die kleine Pfahlbauweizen Oswald Heer’s – Neue Untersuchungen zur Morphologie neolithischer Nacktweizen– Ähren, in van Zeist&Casparie 1984: 153–76.
Jensen, H.A., 1985 Catalogue of late– and postglacial macrofossils of Spermaphyta from Denmark, Schleswig, Holland and Bleckinge dated 13,000 BP to 1536 AD Copenhagen: Danmarks Geologiske UnterSogelse, Series A, 6.
Jessen, K. & Helbaek, H. 1944 Cereals in Great Britain and Ireland in prehistoric and early historic times Copenhagen. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab.Biologiske Skrifter 3.
Jones, M. 1980 Carbonised remains from Grooved Ware contexts, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 46: 61–3.
Kinnes, I. 1985 Circumstance not context: the Neolithic of Scotland as seen from outside, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 115: 1557.
Kislev, M.E. 1984 Botanical evidence for ancient naked wheats in the Near East, in van Zeist&Casparie 141–52.
Klichowska, M. 1959 Odciski ziarn zbóz i innych gatunków traw na ulamkach naczyń z neolity–cznego stanowiska kultury ceramiki wstegowej w Strzelcach w pow. mogileń skim Fontes Archaeologici Posnanienses 10: 101–5.
Klichowska, M. 1976 Aus palaeoethnobotanischen Studien über Pflanzenfunde aus dem Neolithikum und der Bronzezeit auf Polnischem Boden Archaeologia Polona 17: 2767.
Korber-GROHNE, U. 1981 Pflanzliche Abdrucke in eisenzeitlicher Keramik – Speigelbild damaliger Nutzpflanzen? Fundberichte aus Baden–Württemburg 6: 165211.
Maclean, A.C. & Rowley-CONWY, P.A. 1984Appendix 4: the carbonized material from Boghead, Fochabers, in Burl, H.A.W Report on the excavation of a Neolithic mound at Boghead, Speymouth Forest, Fochabers, Moray, 1972 and. 1974 Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 114: 3573.
Marinval, P., 1988 L’alimentation végétale en France du Mesolithique jusqu’é VAge du Fer Paris: Editions du CNRS.
Milles, A., 1986 Charred remains of barley and other plants from Scord of Brouster in Whittle, A. Scord of Brouster: an early agricultural settlement on Shetland 119–22. Oxford: Oxford University Committee for ArchaeologyMonograph 9.
Moffett, L., Robinson, M.A. & Straker, V. 1989 Cereals, fruit and nuts: charred plant remains from Neolithic sites in England and Wales and the Neolithic economy in Milles, A., Williams, D. & Gardner, N. (ed.), The beginnings of agriculture: 243–61. Oxford: British Archaeological ReportsInternational series S496.
Monk, M.A. 1986 Evidence from macroscopic plant remains for crop husbandry in prehistoric and early historic Ireland: a review Journal of Irish Archaeology 3: 31–6.
Monk, M.A. 1988 Appendix 3, in Gowen 1988: 184–7.
Murray, J., 1970. The first European agriculture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Ralston, I.B.M., 1982. A timber hall at Balbridie Farm and the Neolithic in north–east Scotland. Aberdeen University Review 168: 238–49
Ralston, I.B.M., 1984. Notes on the archaeology of Kincardine and Deeside District. Deeside Field 18: 7383.
Ralston, I.B.M. & Reynolds, N.M. 1979. Britain’s oldest building? An early timber structure on Deeside. Scottish Review 14: 1722.
Ralston, I.B.M. 1980. Balbridie: excavations 1977–80 Edinburgh: Scottish Development Department.Ancient Monuments, interim report.
Reynolds, N.M. 1978. Dark Age timber halls and the background to excavations at Balbridie. Scottish Archaeological Forum 10: 4160.
Robinson, D. & Kempfner, D. 1987. Carbonized grain from Mortens Sande 2 – a Single Grave site in north west Jutland. Journal of Danish Archaeology 6: 125–9.
Selkirk, A. 1980. Balbridie. Current Archaeology 6 (70): 326–8.
Van DER VEEN, M. 1985. Evidence for crop plants from north east England: an interim overview with discussion of new results, in Fieller, N.R.J., Gilbertson, D.D. & Ralph, N.G.A. Palaeo–biological investigations 197219. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.International series S266.
Van ZEIST, W. 1968. Prehistoric and early historic food plants in the Netherlands. Palaeohistona 14: 41173.
Van ZEIST, W. 1970. On macroscopic traces of food plants in SW Asia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 275: 2741.
Van ZEIST, W. 1984. List of names of wild and cultivated Cereals, Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture 1: 816.
Van ZEIST, W. & Casparie, W.A. 1984. Plants and ancient man: studies in palaeoethnobotany Rotterdam; Balkema.
Wasylikowa, K. 1984. Fossil evidence for ancient food plants in Poland in van Zeist&Casparie: 257–66.
Willerding, U. 1970. Vor– und frühgeschichtliche Kulturpflanzenfunde in Mitteleuropa Neue Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in Niedersachsen 5: 287375.
Williams, E. 1989. Dating the introduction of food production into Britain and Ireland Antiquity 63: 510–21.
Wilson, D.G. 1984. The carbonisation of weed seeds and their representation in macrofossil assemblages van Zeist&Casparie: 201–6.
Zohary, D. & Hopf, M. 1988 Domestication of plants in the Old World Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed