It wasn’t a buried cache of gold or silver that excavators came across as they methodically dug down through the remains of one of Scotland’s most ancient archaeological sites. But in a very important sense, the discovery was equally exciting.
They were the skeletal remains of an animal—a very, very big one. And a very old one.
"It is so big that there was an immediate need for an expert opinion," reported the Dig Diary blogger for the Ness of Brodgar Excavations project.
So they called upon Jen Harland, an expert at identifying faunal remains.
"She has confirmed that the bones belong to an enormous cow—so big indeed that it is probably off the scale for the biggest known modern cow and into the range for an aurochs." Read more.
A hoard of Viking treasure found in Dumfries and Galloway has been described one of the most significant archaeological finds Scottish history.
Early indication suggest there are over 100 artefacts, comprising several gold objects.
The hoard also included a complete metal vessel containing more objects. This has not yet been emptied and the first step will be to examine its contents by x-ray techniques.
Experts have begun to examine the finds, but it is already clear that this is one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland. Read more.
A boot worn by a Roman soldier during patrols of the native 2nd century tribes of Dumfries and Galloway would have been comfily cushioned with up to five layers of leather sole, National Museums of Scotland experts analysing a hobnail sole on a former fort in southern Scotland have concluded.
Despite its leather rotting, the hobnails beneath the boot – deployed during the Roman army’s famed long-distance marches – had remained intact when it was discovered at Carzield Roman Fort, a Scheduled Ancient Monument near Dumfries.
A set of tiny trenches, measuring only 30 to 40 centimetres wide on a dig described by Guard Archaeology as “no easy task”, also revealed a striking iron javelin head, corroded and broken during military action. Read more.
The fate of an ancient stone that went missing in Dundee is troubling archaeologists.
While not quite the Stone of Destiny, the 2,000-year-old Iron Age burnishing stone is an important part of Archaeology Scotland’s teaching kit.
The stone went missing at the Dundee Flower and Food Festival on Saturday, September 6. It is around 7cm long — the perfect size to have slipped into a child’s pocket.
Archaeology Scotland believe the stone may have been picked up by one of the many children who were using the Iron Age Investigations Kit to learn about archaeology with the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership at the Festival. Read more.
A huge pink granite boulder from the Picts who lived in the north and east of Scotland hundreds of years ago, incised with a large eagle and a mirror case in a “truly unexpected” set of symbols, has been revealed to the public more than a year after it broke a farmer’s plough near Craigellachie in Aberdeenshire.
Spanning more than 1.7 metres and weighing more than a ton, the Dandaleith Stone was originally reported as a “rather large stone with some sort of carving” by the landowner, who reported the solid relic to the council’s Archaeology Service in May 2013.
The Picts lived in the region between the 3rd and 9th centuries, and are thought to have created the stones as markers or commemorations between the 6th and 8th centuries. Read more.
THE image of our Neolithic ancestors as simple souls carving out a primitive existence has been dispelled.
A groundbreaking excavation of a 5,000-year-old temple complex in Orkney has uncovered evidence to suggest that prehistoric people were a great deal more sophisticated than previously thought.
The archaeological dig at the Ness of Brodgar, which is still in its early stages, has already thrown up discoveries that archaeologists say will force us to re-evaluate our understanding of how our ancestors lived.
The picture that has emerged so far points to a complex and capable society that displayed impeccable workmanship and created an integrated landscape. Read more.
An Iron Age village plus a host of ancient artefacts including tools and jewellery have been discovered on a construction site.
The finds were made by teams working on the £17 million A75 Dunragit bypass in Wigtownshire.
Tools, arrowheads, urns and bead necklaces from the Mesolithic (9000 BC to 4500 BC), Neolithic (4500 BC to 2000 BC), Bronze (2500 BC to 800 BC) and Iron Ages (800 BC to 500 AD) were found, along with the Iron Age village and a Bronze Age cemetery.
A 130-piece jet bead necklace was of particular interest to archaeologists, who were able to trace its origin in Whitby, North Yorkshire, around 155 miles from where it was found. Read more.
Thousands of flint artefacts found in a South Lanarkshire field were the tools of hunters chasing herds of wilds and horses during the late late-glacial period, say archaeologists investigating the oldest evidence of human occupation ever recorded in Scotland, from 14,000 years ago.
Roaming before the re-emergence of glacial conditions which saw Scotland depopulated once more, the first settlers in Scotland left more than 5,000 artefacts at Howburn, near Biggar, where the local archaeology group unearthed them between 2005 and 2009.
They are said to be “strikingly similar” to similar European discoveries from the same period. Read more.