1 DOREEN M. HUNTER, MA TWO GROUPS OF CISTS AT DENOVAN NEAR DUNIPACE, STIRLINGSHIRE Introduction THE finds at Dcnovan in 1967 consisted of at least two short cists and at least three long ones(1). Slabs were reported to have been seen during sand working at two other points, and these might indicate cists of either kind. Quarrying at the site is far advanced, and even if more cists arc found which now seems unlikely the numbers would still be too low, and the cists too 'cemetery' of cither scattered, to make up a short or long cists. The field is said to have been at one time called 'The Roundel'*21, which would suggest that it had had a mound or circle in it; but if so, it could have covered only one of the short cists. It is rare but not unknown to find long and short cists, of different periods and traditions, on the same site. Some cases among the older group of reports may be misleading, since a long cists might include a child's grave or a contemporary short cist(3) or, less probably, a group of short cists one of the massive type usually found alone. But at Stanncrgate<4), Dundee, a bowl Food Vessel accompanied one of the short cists, and at Parkburn<4) a Food Vessel of'yorkshire' type; a similar sequence at Yarrow'4* and at Laudcr<4). is probable Nothing about these sites suggests that they had continued sanctity, but they may have been attractive for similar reasons. Parkburn, like Dcnovan, is on sandy ground overlooking a river; Stanncrgatc is on a promontory, Yarrow on a sloping hillside overlooking a haugh. The Excavations The long cists were shallow, badly made and close to the surface. Two full length cists and traces of another, smaller cist, possibly child's, a were uncovered. They had clearly been within reach of the plough, and had lost their 5' covers and most of their sides (Fig. i; Pls. i, 2.) Other cists may have been completely destroyed. There were no finds. In these circumstances, exposed to alternate soaking drought, and and to chemical action and physical disturbance during cultivation, bone would be to survive as well as in the short cists. unlikely There was no trace of iron, nor of any other stain, on the floor of the cists. In the absence of diagnostic evidence such graves, although approximately oriented, cannot be considered part of an Early Christian cemetery, but must rather be assigned to some point in the preceding Iron Age. Of the two short cists, we were able to complete the excavation of only one (Cist 2: Fig. 2, Pl. 3). The first had been so effectively concealed from marauders that several hours' search failed to locate it again. The finders had, however, removed a Food Vessel, and had noted that the cist was empty no earth, no bones, no recognisable grave nor goods fragments and was 'generally similar' in size and construction to the second. This was 4 feet 6 inches long (near the upper end of the scale for 'short' cists) and coffin-shaped, 1 foot 7 inches 1 foot 10 inches 1 foot 6 inches, with two slabs to each long side (Fig. 2). There was some clay and stone building to fill in between the slabs, which were not rectangular, and the corners were luted with clay. This construction is better than has been recorded for other cists in the area, some of which were boulder-built. The bones could because the not be photographed in position cover, which was thick but barely large enough for the cist (4 feet 3 inches x 1 foot 10 inches), m National Grid reference NS 81583s. <2) Probably about sixty years ago: childhood of informant's parents. <3> Late short cists are recorded from (among other sites) Camelon, Stirlingshire PSAS LVI1 (1922-3), 243, and from Granton Pier, near Edinburgh D. Wilson, The Archaeology ami Prehistoric Atmals of Scotland (1851), p <4> Stannergate, Dundee PSAS III (1878-9), 303; Parkburn, Midlothian PSAS CVIII (1964-5), 204; Yarrow, Selkirkshire HBNC (1883), and PSAS VI (1860-2), 484; Lander, Berwickshire PSAS I (1874-6), 223, and 100 (1967-8), 119.
2 had fallen in (P1..3, left), and could not be lifted without risk of crushing the remaining bones, which had first to be removed. Assuming that one skeleton lay as deposited, it would have been on its left side, head south- the Food Vessel in the west west, facing corner. But Mr Inkster's report (Appendix 3), confirmed by that of Dr Sprinz (Appendix 4), showed, very surprisingly, that at least two individuals were represented. It seems unlikely, given their relative preservation, that the bones represented two or more contemporary burials. They might have been successive (separated by a few years at least) or the result of much later disturbance of the cists and reburial of the bones. The last must remain a strong probability, though cases such as West Pinkcrton, Broxburn, East Lothian*5', could be quoted of the second. The Food Vessel (Fig. 3, was right) on its mouth facing the corner; near it was side, <5> PSAS LIII (1938-9), 231. o feet Fig. 1. Dcnovan. Plans for surviving Ions* cists. 32
3 a small quantity of a substance 'like bone meal' seen but not recovered by the first finders. There were no other finds. Discussion The number of cists (in flat graves) of 4 feet 6 inches long and over cannot be given with certainty, as vague or dubious records are involved. When allowance is made both for these cases and for those of possible multiple burial, there are not more than twenty-five cases out of over 300 sites (including groups of cists) north of the Tees. They do not appear to be linked with any other feature (in particular are they found in both Beaker and Food Vessel nor contexts) to diverge significantly from the distribution pattern of short cists, though a different pattern, with a midwestern bias, would emerge if heavy construction, as well as overall were length, plotted. The cists which have two-slab sides, or are coffin- or are boat-shaped, more interesting. Some of these are 'long': Daill, Kilarrow*6* (two-slab), Cockburn<6> (threeslab) and Leethead<6) (one examples). of the doubtful Others have two-slab sides without ( ) Daill, Kilarrow, Islay PSAS L (1935-6), 380; Cockburn, Berwickshire HBNC VII ( ), 355; Leethead, Berwickshire NSA II (1845), 171; Pitreavie, Fife PSAS (1885-6), 240; South Cluncs, Kiltarlity, Invernessshire PSAS LVIII (1933-4), 128; Balbridie, Durris, Kincardineshire PSAS L (1905-6), 304; Sanaigmore, Islay information from excavator. Plate 2. Denovan. Below: surviving side slabs of a long cist. bottom and 33
5 Ol lo Fig. 3. Dcnovan, Food Vessels. Left: greater length, as at Pitrcavie(6) (a group site, in which four out of six cists contained Food Vessels), South Cluncs(ti), Kiltarlity, shaped a coffin- cist with six wall-slabs; here as at Balbridic*6', Durris (a pointed cist), the finds included C-Bcakcrs. Other bowed, pointed two-slab or cists lacked significant small finds; one of them, Sanaigmore in Islay, is none the less of interest because the pointed form is here most unmistakably intentional. Sir Cyril Fox in IQ59(7), discussing large pointed cists of single-grave rite in Wales, suggested a pedigree for cists of bowed form or massive construction from a form of gallery grave. A case could be made out for such an ancestry for Scottish and North English examples, but group of no class consistently linked with a small finds can be distinguished. There is no instance near Dcnovan of a cist having any clearly intentional variant from the rectangular shape, but that found in the circle at Tillicoultry*8* was unusually large (4 feet 9 inches long) and well built; the cover was ring-, line- and spiral-marked, and the finds included white pebbles. The two Food Vessels from Dcnovan both fall within the definition of Childe's Type B2(9); they arc conical below the shoulder and have two ridges or, if preferred, one groove above. In that from Cist 1 (Fig 3, left), however, the groove is so wide and the shoulder so little marked that it could almost be classified as a C(10). It is the larger and 35 from Cist 1. Right: from Cist 2. clumsier of the two; the decoration consists of bands of triangular indentation covering whole the pot, including the lip. On the vessel from Cist 2 (Fig. 3, right), the all-over herringbone is done, much more neatly, in whipped cord technique, and in this case the proportions are such that there seems to be a narrow groove, rather than two ribs. Despite the difference between them both vessels have Food Vessels of their closest parallels among 'western' type, and especially among Tripartite Bowls'11). Close parallels to cither are difficult to find, though elements of the decoration of each arc widespread on vessels of very different forms. Lists will be found in Appendix those which seemed closest 1 of both in form and in ornament; there is no significant difference in distribution, though one type is more numerous than the other. Associated finds are so rare that there can be no significance in the fact that two come from the first list (bracelets, of the type also found with the Ratho Beaker (12), and at Kinncff*13'; a V-pcrforated button at Oxgangs Road, Edinburgh*14*), and only <7) Sir Cyril Fox, Life ami Death in the Bronze Age (1959). '*> Cuninghar,Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire PSAS\ (1S94-5), 190, and III (1898-9), 361. < > V. G. Childe, Scotland before the Scots (1946), p. 10s. <'») Ibid. Alison Young, "A Tripartite Bowl from Kintvrc", PSAS LV (1950-1), <12> Ratho, Midlothian PSAS LVI1 (1922-3), 130. <13> Kinncff Castle, Kincardincshire PSAS LVII (1922-3), 130. <l4> Oxgangs Road,Edinburgh PS/IS LVIII (1933-4), 351.
6 one, a macehcad from Glcnhcad, Dounc(15), from the second. The close parallel at Patrickholm*16' (where two out of four cists contained Food Vessels each resembling the pair at Dcnovan) had, in addition, cylindrical bone beads and a disc bead of stone, but not closely associated with either of the Food Vessels. Acknowledgments Acknowledgments Estates, owners of the ground, by whose permission the Food Vessels are at present in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh; Messrs Alexander Russell, lessees of the pit, for their cooperation ; Mr George Rarity and his colleague on the excavator, who recognised the interest of the site and took steps arc due to Callcndar to sec that the cists were protected and examined by archaeologists as soon as possible; Mr John Kirkhopc, who measured and drew the cists, and other members of the Cumbernauld Archaeological Society. I'5' Glenhcad, Dounc, Perthshire J. Anderson, Scotland in Pagan Times (i886), p. 83. (18) Patrickholm, near Larkhall, Lanarkshire PSAS LIII (1948-9), 207. APPENDI 1 The following Food Vessels resemble that from Cist r in having two ribs, triangular indentation in the ornament, and (very approximately) similar proportions. All are in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh. Bracketed numbers refer to V. G. Childe's classified list of Food Vessels in Scotland before the Scots (1946), pp Kinneft, Kincardineshire (53); Poltalloch, Mid Argyll (131); Greenhill, Balmerino, Fife (209); Oxgangs Road, Edinburgh (247); Ardrossan, Ayrshire (304); Abernethy, Perthshire PSAS LI (1946-7), 185; Corran Park, Oban, Argyll (118); Machrie Moor, Arran (153-4); North Gayle, Edinburgh (241); Bcllfidd, Midlothian (254); Lochinch, Wigtownshire (314); Patrickholm, Lanarkshire PSAS LIII (1948-9), 207. It is difficult to find close parallels to the Food Vessel from Cist 2 because of the number of possible elements tor comparison. In the following list, G stands for 'groove', H for 'herring bone ornament', W for 'whipped cord', or closely similar effect, and T tor 'twisted cord'. Bracketed numbers refer to V. G. Childe's classified list of Food Vessels in Scotland before the Scots (1946), pp Site and References Rosemarkie, Ross (36) Abernethy, Perth PSAS LI (1946-7), 185 Queich, Alyth, Perth(70). Glenhcad, Doune, Perth (108). Kerrera, Oban, Argyll (125). Carnassarie, Mid Argyll (127) Mountstewart, Bute (146) Scalpsie Bay, Bute (147) Cadder, Lanark (194) Patrickholm, Lanark PSAS LIII (1948-9), 207 Cuninghar, Clackmannan (201) Battle Law, Fife (202). Battle Law, Fife (203) Kingsbarns, Crail, Fife (216) Kingsbarns, Crail, Fife (217) Costerton Mains, Blackshiels, Midlothian (249) Parkburn, Midlothian PSAS CVIII (1964-6), 204 Cockburn Mill, Berwick (269) Crailing Hall, Roxburgh (291) Wallacetown, Ayr (306). Kirkburn, Dumfries PSAS CVI (1962-3), 107 Drannandow, Minnigaff, Wigtown (318) 36 H W -:
7 APPENDI 2 Cists with multi-slab sides and other irregularities. Balbridie, Durris, Kincardine PSAS L (1905-6), 304; Broomdykes, Edrom, Berwick PSAS VII (1866-8), 177; Bruach, Glenlvon, Perth PSAS I (1884-5), 39; Daill, Kilarrow, Islav PSAS L (1935-6), 380; Darnhall, Eddlc'stoni Peebles PSAS LIV ( ), 25; Drummond, Kilteam, Ross Archaeological Review II (1888-9), 251; East Castle Hill, Tyric, Aberdeen PSAS LIII (1908-9), 79, LIII (1928-9), 183; Fatficld, Durham Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Neivcastle-upon-Tyne, 3S III (1907-8), m, Arch. Ael. 3S I (1934), 169; Gateside of Scotstown, Old Machar, Aberdeen PSAS LIII (1908-9), 92, Proceedings of the Anatomical Society of the University of Aberdeen (1906-8), 66; Grueldykes, Duns, Berwick PSAS V (1862-4), 240, HBNC (1863), 60; Hailic, Largs, Ayr Arch. LII (1910), 246; Harelaw Hill,' Chirnsidc, Berwick HBNC I (1903-5); Hasting Hill, Offerton, Durham Arch. Ael. 3S I (i934). 135; Kilchoan, Mid Argyll PSAS VI (1864-6), 352; Knock of Clathe/kettle, Fife OSA I (1791), 381; Knockhill, Friockheim, Angus PSAS LII (1947-8), 295; Leethead, Berwick NSA II (1845), 171; Meft, Urquhart, Moray PSAS I (1870-2), 255; Newhouse, Birsav, Mainland ot Orkney PSAS LIII (1948-9), 239; Nunraw, East Lothian PSAS LVIII (1943-4), 116; South Clunie, Kiltarlity, Inverness PSAS LVIII (1933-4), 128; Thurston, Innerwick, East Lothian PSAS LIV ( ), 139; Trow Rocks, South Shields, Durham W. Greenwell, British Barrows (1877), p. 442; West Lothian PSAS II Wcstfield Mill, Torphichen, (1870-3), 406; Woodfield, High Banks, Kirkcudbright PSAS (1880-1), V 211; Woodside, "Ayrshire" Stirling Observer (1843). APPENDI 3 Report on the bones, by R. G. Inkstcr These bones are the remains of two, or possibly three skeletons. They include the shaft and lower end of a left femur, with epiphvsis completely joined so as to indicate an age ot over 21 years, and part of the shaft of a right femur. The upper limb is represented by the shaft of a right humerus and a piece of scapula with the glenoid articular surface, coracoid process and acromion. The epiphyses are fused except tor the end of the acromion where a part has been so separated as to indicate a developmental age of something under 25 years. A second scapular fragment is from the left side. These bones are smallish but too broken to allow of useful measurements. bone shafts are difficult to Two other pieces of long identify with certainty, but at least one of them has probably come from a different skeleton. The skull is represented by pieces from the vault and base from a young person, some fragments ot upper jaw, and the right halfof a lower jaw bearing three well developed and only slightly worn molar teeth. The pieces of skull vault are thin and the sphenooccipital joint in the base has been unossificd except for a Hake of bone which separated easily on being handled. This suggests an age of between 25 years and the 18 to in the 20 years stage, when ossification normally begins cartilage, and probably about 20 years. The temporal squama has begun tojoin the great wing ot the sphenoid. The teeth are present in sufficient number to indicate the presence of at least two skeletons and variations in size and degree of wear support this finding. A report from Dr Sprinz on the teeth (infra) corroborated the presence of the remains ot a person in the late teen-age or early twenties group and indicates also the remains of a younger, early teen-age person and, in addition, possibly the remains of a third rather older person which would correspond to the additional pieces of long bone shaft mentioned above. APPENDI 4 Report on the human jaw fragments and teeth, by R. Sprinz 1. Fragments of right half mandible: teeth present 76) with sockets of 8.5. The crowns of 76] show little evidence of attrition (occlusal wear), the 6 shows some, the 7] hardly any. The socket of 8 suggests that the root of this tooth was fully formed. The appearances are therefore suggestive of a young adult over 18 years, but probably under 25 years. 2. Fragment of left mandible in 1345 region. Teeth present The [45 teeth show no evidence of attrition, are fully erupted and are therefore from a young subject again. The 3 shows some wear. It is possible that this fragment is from the same subject as (1), though the complete absence of attrition could make the age ot this subject at death as low as Fragment of left maxilla in 1456 region. Roots present The roots are completely formed and therefore this comes from a subject over 14 years. As the crowns are missing, it is impossible to give an upper limit. The large size of the pulp chamber of the 6 suggests that this tooth is unlikely to have been subject to a great deal of attrition for this chamber would have dentine. It is, been partially obliterated by secondary therefore, possible that this fragment is also from a young subject and could belong to (1) and or (2). 37
8 4. The enamel crowns ot 14.3, the 3 crown showing some attrition. Probably from the same jaw as (2). 5. The unworn crown of] 4, possibly from fragment (3). 6. Some clivers pieces of bone mandibular molars. Of these one 6 matches in shape and size and attrition the~6j of fragment (1). 7a. Another [6 shows fairly extensive attrition and belonged to probably an older subject than (1) say All the remaining crowns show 110 attrition, and are probably from a young subject or subjects, years old maxillary molars: of these 3 crowns show fairly extensive attrition, an upper f5 corresponding in wear to the [6 of (7a) above. The remaining 5 molar crowns show no attrition, i.e. are from young subjects. 9. Prcmolar teeth and crowns: 4 maxillary and 4 mandibular. Attrition on none. 10. Canines: 2 maxillary with some wear, 2 mandibular with more marked areas. 11. Some broken incisors. Conclusions The material certainly contains the dentitions of two human subjects, one probably in the early teens, the other in the late teens or early twenties. The numbers of teeth found do not indicate that more than two subjects are involved, though there is, however, the impression, particularly of the 6 and [6 (7a -j- 8) where the teeth are larger than any other molars, and where the attrition was more extensive, that possibly a third, rather older subject say was involved. 38