Ancient Monuments

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Kingston Hill, multiperiod cemetery

A Scheduled Monument in North Berwick Coastal, East Lothian

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Latitude: 56.031 / 56°1'51"N

Longitude: -2.7339 / 2°44'2"W

OS Eastings: 354359

OS Northings: 682253

OS Grid: NT543822

Mapcode National: GBR 2T.S3Q3

Mapcode Global: WH7TK.ZN9Y

Entry Name: Kingston Hill, multiperiod cemetery

Scheduled Date: 20 January 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10504

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Crosses and carved stones: cross-incised stone; Ecclesiastical: burial ground, cemetery, graveyard;

Location: North Berwick

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: North Berwick Coastal

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument comprises the remains of a multiperiod cemetery on the summit of a low hill at around 90m OD, some 150m N of Fenton Tower. This hill appears to have seen three thousand years of intermittent use, from the Bronze Age (second millennium BC) through to the Middle Ages.

The cemetery was discovered by workmen digging a trench to provide a water supply to Fenton Tower during its restoration. An archaeological evaluation was carried out subsequently. This revealed a large number of graves and suspected graves, spread across the top and sides of the knoll in apparent groups, their clustering dictated by ground conditions.

Most of the burials were contained in stone-lined long cists, but simple burials in dug pits were encountered near the summit of the knoll. Two probable short cists of likely Bronze Age date were also located. There were also traces of a building on the hill, possibly dating to the 12th or 13th century.

This appeared to post-date some of the stone-lined graves and pre-date the pit graves. A varied assemblage of artefacts was recovered, ranging from prehistoric pottery (including late Neolithic sherds), flints and hammer stones, through to medieval pottery, nails and a cross-incised stone.

The cemetery may have been truncated by quarrying to the E and W. It is defined by the quarry edges to the E and W, by the field boundary for part of its northern extent, and by the top of the slope to the S. The area is irregular in shape and measures approximately 75m E-W by 51m N-S, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a well-preserved site with a particularly long-lived history of use. From the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages it has been used as a ritual site, in particular for burials. This history has left its mark in a complex set of archaeological remains, spanning several periods. The site has the potential to enhance our knowledge of ritual and funerary practices over a long period of time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT58SW 152.


Suddaby, I. (2001b) 'Kingston Common, North Berwick, East Lothian (North Berwick parish), Bronze Age, Early Christian and early medieval burial ground', Discovery Excav Scot, vol. 2, 36.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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