Wrappings of power: a woman's burial in cattle hide at Langwell Farm, Strath Oykel

Lelong, O. et al. (2014) Wrappings of power: a woman's burial in cattle hide at Langwell Farm, Strath Oykel. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 144, pp. 65-131.

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Abstract

A well-preserved burial, discovered during peat clearing on Langwell Farm in Strath Oykel, Easter Ross, consisted of a stone cist that held the skeleton of a woman who had died in 2200–1960 cal BC. Although the cist contents were disturbed and partly removed before archaeological investigation took place, the burial rite can be interpreted to some extent. The woman, who died in her late 20s, had been wrapped in brown cattle hide, and wooden and woven objects were placed with her body. Periodic waterlogging created conditions that allowed the rare, partial preservation of the organic materials. Analysis of bone histology indicated that decay of the human remains had been arrested, either by deliberate mummification or by waterlogging. The cist had been set in a low knoll on the valley floor and it may have been covered by a low cairn or barrow. This spot has been the site of a fire several hundred years earlier and it may have been a node on a cross-country route linking east and west coasts in the Early Bronze Age. The use of animal hide suggests the creation and use of particular identities, linking the dead to ancestors and to powerful spiritual properties attributed to the natural world. The work was carried out for Historic Scotland under the Human Remains Call-off Contract.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:With contributions by Iraia Arabaolaza, Thomas Booth, Jane Evans, Richard P Evershed, Susanna Harris, Hege Hollund, B J Keely, Angela Lamb, M D Pickering, A P Pinder, Susan Ramsay, Penelope Walton Rogers, Lucija Šoberl, Clare Wilson and Lyn Wilson
Keywords:Archaeology, textile, burial, Bronze Age, Britain, Prehistory, England, wrapping.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lelong, Ms Olivia and Harris, Dr Susanna and Ramsay, Dr Susan
Authors: Lelong, O., Arabaolaza, I., Booth, T., Evans, J., Evershed, R. P., Harris, S., Hollund, H., Keely, B.J., Lamb, A., Pickering, M.D., Pinder, A.P., Ramsay, S., Walton Rogers, P., Šoberl, L., Wilson, C., and Wilson, L.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Journal Abbr.:PSAS
Publisher:Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
ISSN:0081-1564
ISSN (Online):0081-1564
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
First Published:First published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 144:65-132
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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