Pre-history North of Biggar

Arable field walking with  the tractor in the field

Racing against the tractor. Field walking is often a race against time.

From the sparse available evidence it appeared that the Neolithic  inhabitants of the area favoured the area North of Biggar whereas the Bronze Age people preferred the area to the south of the town.

To test this perception, a major programme of arable field walking was begun in 1995 in the hope of increasing the number of relevant sites. Several Neolithic and Mesolithic sites were found in the area to the north and north-east of Biggar and confirmed by excavation.

Other relevant sites are Biggar Common, that has yielded evidence of  Neolithic and Bronze Age activity, and the group of Bronze Age cairns at Corse Law. To date, the only known Neolithic sites in the area south of Biggar are on the sides of Megget Reservoir, whereas there is abundant and widespread evidence left by the Bronze Age people.

This Project continues on an annual basis.

A range of flint and chert arrowheads

Range of flint and chert arrowheads

Fields in the Dolphinton area were chosen to initiate the project because from one farm alone, Kippit, ten Neolithic axes had been recovered in the past. These are now in the National Museum of Scotland.

Almost without exception the fields explored produced some finds – in some cases only a few random objects, in others a ‘background’ scatter of lithic material. Less commonly. discrete concentrations of lithic materials and, in a few cases, pottery sherds were discovered.

Excavations were carried out at a number of these concentrations. In most cases, the sites proved to be of Mesolithic and/or Neolithic date. However, at Howburn Farm, the excavation recovered, in addition, artifacts in flint, and other exotic materials, that proved we had found Scotland’s only known Late Upper Palaeolithic site. Further excavation of this important site is currently taking place.

Interestingly, although a Roman road is supposed to run through the area, no Roman objects have ever been found.

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