Brownsbank Farm 3rd Interim Report available
Since 1997 the ploughed fields of Brownsbank Farm have been walked as part of The Pre-History North of Biggar Project. In the spring of 2000 a series of locations with surface scatters of Early Neolithic pottery was found in one field (No 4). Several locations were excavated (2000 –2001) to test for surviving in situ archaeology, and at one, a significant assemblage of pottery was retrieved, which was in association with Arran pitchstone, Langdale Pike Group VI axe flakes, a lithic assemblage and pits containing further pottery and charcoal enriched fills. Radiocarbon dates were obtained from two contexts.
This report is primarily the same as the first two interims (Ward 2000 & 2001) regarding the fieldwork, but with the additional inclusion of charcoal analyses, C14 dates, illustrations and with reference to subsequent relevant discoveries.
None of the finds have been professionally analysed and therefore comment regarding them by this writer must be considered as ‘non specialist’.
The Pre-History North of Biggar Project (PHNBP) has been running since 1995 as an arable fieldwalking project, to test a hypothesis that most evidence of early pre-history in Clydesdale and to the north of the town of Biggar, appears to have a Neolithic bias, while that to the south of Biggar is mostly Bronze Age. The value of the Project and the hypothesis is steadily being validated, most especially by the retrieval of objects and by the excavations by BAG at Biggar Common West and East, Weston Farm, Melbourne Farm, Carwood Farm, all to the north of Biggar. The work reported here is further evidence that the hypothesis is proving true, however, Neolithic assemblages have now been retrieved by BAG south of Biggar at Nether Hangingshaw Farm and at Daer Valley.
This report deals specifically with the excavation evidence at Brownsbank Farm, and also that from fieldwalking over most of the farm land, in as far as it can do without recourse to specialist analyses. Eventually more detailed results by professional analyses of the finds may be married with the findings of the various campaigns hereinafter described, and drawn together for the purpose of a final report.
This report, and previous interim reports should serve as a dire warning that a considerable amount of evidence of early pre-history is being lost annually by ploughing, at least in south central Scotland. It highlights the need for major programmes of arable fieldwalking to be undertaken nationally, and as a matter of some urgency. It also indicates the value of the Biggar based voluntary archaeologists who are willing to meet the challenge of saving our eroding and irreplaceable heritage.
The excavation site was discovered on Saturday 29th April and excavation was completed by the evening of May 1st as a matter of some urgency. The field was rotovated on on the 3rd May.