Biggar Gap Project

Biggar Gap

The Biggar Gap looking from east to west

The Biggar Gap is an approximately east-west valley which connects the flood plains of the rivers Clyde and Tweed. It carries the road from the village of Broughton in the east to Biggar in the west.

To test a long-held assumption that this was the route used by hunter gatherers in the Mesolithic period, to travel east-west across southern Scotland, an arable fieldwalking programme is under way. To date, some evidence for Mesolithic activity has been found at Heavyside Farm and one of what appears to be group of quarries for the extraction of chert was excavated at Burnetland Farm.

Chert Mine excavation trench

Chert extraction quarry excavation

Burnetland Farm excavations took place in 2005/2006 season. A long narrow trench intersected a seam of Radiolarian Chert that strikes approximately east-west.

Hazel charcoal, found, with oak, at the base of a 2m-high quarry face, yielded a radiocarbon date of 5220±35BP. Extraction of the chert had been carried out using stone pounders, several of which were found scattered through the quarry infill. It is possible that fire was used to open up the rock layers but evidence for this was inconclusive. (Report in preparation).

 

 

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