Our Island, Our Future

Skeletal Thursday

Finally we reached the bottom of the cist and found about 80% of the bones of what we think might be a mature adult male. These could be about 5000 years old which is pretty amazing. With radiocarbon dating we will know for sure.  The missing bones include small hand and feet bones, ribs and part of the jaw. These may be found within the samples that are going to be wet sieved by a couple of volunteers (thank you in advance!). The way the bones were found confirmed that the burial had been disturbed before.
Once the fill was out of the cist you could really appreciate how big the cist side slabs are. Several local people have commented on the fact that you cant see such large flat stones anywhere on the island now. They must have taken considerable effort to bring together so long ago.
There is dark brown sand all around the edges of the cist which contains modern pottery. This  shows how much the surrounding ground has been disturbed by ploughing which has introduced modern midden material into the deposits.
Another site we are interested in is a midden at Balinoe which has produced a medieval bone pin/awl. Peta was out there today doing a geophysical survey which looks very promising for sub surface structures. Samples taken from the midden will get dated and provide a chronological context for the midden.
cist with bones
empty cistSandy and pot sherd