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East Reston, ring ditch 545m SSE of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8399 / 55°50'23"N

Longitude: -2.1543 / 2°9'15"W

OS Eastings: 390437

OS Northings: 660747

OS Grid: NT904607

Mapcode National: GBR F0DX.DF

Mapcode Global: WH9Y2.WGBY

Entry Name: East Reston, ring ditch 545m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12535

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a ring-ditched structure dating to the prehistoric period and visible as a cropmarked feature in oblique aerial photographs. It is located 65m above sea level 400m to the SSW of the Eye Water and 2km west of Ayton village.

Visible as a cropmark under the right cropping and weather conditions are two concentric circular features and two inner features that indicate the presence of buried structural remains. The outermost circle measures around 25m in external diameter and encloses an inner, narrower penannular feature that itself contains a broadly circular and sub-circular feature. The combination of rings and central features leads archaeologists to interpret this as the remains of a Bronze-Age burial mound or barrow likely to contain at least one burial.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the monument, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The surviving form of this barrow as a cropmarked feature is typical of archaeological sites found in the fertile lowlands of Scotland. The cropmarks indicate the potential of the surviving remains to help us understand the architectural evolution of the monument and the use of this place for burial and associated ritual activities. There appears to be at least one and possibly two inner features surviving and these are likely to be the structural and skeletal remains of two burials, possibly accompanied by gravegoods. The ditch fills may contain or seal dating and other environmental evidence that could help us to construct a picture of the environment at the time. This monument therefore has the potential to tell us more about the date, design, function, construction and use of this type of burial monument.

Contextual characteristics

The surviving prehistoric archaeological record for the Scottish Borders combines the upstanding field monuments of the uplands and coastal edge with the less visible cropmarked remains of similar monuments found in the fertile agricultural lowlands. Together these reflect the scale of prehistoric exploitation and this barrow is an important indicator of the Bronze-Age communities that settled here and their burial practices. It is one of a widespread and common group of prehistoric monuments - the burial monument - however, we know of far fewer surviving earthen barrows than the more common stone cairn variant. Even fewer survive with their central burial(s) intact and so this cropmarked barrow can tell us much about how the communities that lived here dealt with death and burial.

The barrow survives among a locally dense group of broadly contemporary settlement monuments that appear to cluster along the banks and adjacent lands of the Eye Water. It can therefore help us to understand the wider picture of prehistoric land use here and the significance of settlement when compared to the situation in the uplands.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the architecture of, and practices associated with, burial and commemoration of the dead. The buried field remains survive to a marked degree and include structural evidence for a relatively uncommon sub-group of burial monument, the barrow. The loss of this monument would therefore impede our ability to understand prehistoric life and death in the Scottish Borders during the Bronze Age, and to compare this to practices elsewhere in Scotland and beyond.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NT96SW 38; the Scottish Borders SMR as 1060114.

References:

RCAHMS 1980b, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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