Aberdeenshire HER - NO79NW0012 - WARREN FIELD, CRATHES

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Main Details

Primary ReferenceNO79NW0012
NRHE Card No.NO79NW18
NRHE Numlink 36671
Site Form Crop Mark (Includes Soil Mark)
Site Condition AP visible Only
Details Pit-alignment showing as cropmarks with at least 22 pits extending for circa 80m northeast to southwest across a field. A small excavation was carried out in 2004, with one pit being sectioned and a further six pits and five features planned. In 2005, a further five pits were revealed and sectioned, with two more pits sectioned and sampled in 2006 to confirm the radiocarbon results. The pits range in size from 1m in diameter and 0.55m deep to 2.6m in diameter and 1.3m deep. Consistently, all the pits had a sequence of an initial cut with some slippages from the sides, then a thick deposit of charcoal followed by infilling from weathering of the edges and possibly erosion and slippage of upcast material. In each pit this process was then interrupted by a secondary cut, with a fill which again included large amounts of charcoal. The radiocarbon dates suggest that some of the pits were potentially dug 200 to 400 years later than the others, but that they are all Mesolithic in date with some having later Early Neolithic activity. The pits appear to represent some form of monumental symbolic site with earth piled around each open pit. The site then saw reuse in the Neolithic and the position of the nearby timber hall (NO79NW0013) may relate to knowledge of this earlier site. Analysis in 2013 suggests that the pits appear to have basic calendrical functions as they mimic the phases of the moon and is structured to track lunar months. It also aligns on the southeast horizon and a prominent topographic point associated with the sunrise on the midwinter solstice. By acknowledging the solstice it gives the calendar an annual astronomic correction in order to maintain the link between the passage of time indicated by the moon, the asynchronous solar year, and the associated seasons. If these pits do represent a calendar then this would make them the earliest form of time measurer in the world (the next known formal calendars orginate in Mesopotamia some 5000 years later).
Last Update27/10/2020
Updated Bycpalmer
Date of Compilation20/06/1980

Easting: 373796.969779762, Northing: 796660.450007264

Google Map for NO79NW0012

National Grid Reference: NO 7379 9666

Event Details

Event DateEvent TypeOASIS ID
2004 Excavation
2005 Excavation
2006 Excavation
2013 Geophysical Survey

Excavations and Surveys

Date MDate YTypeDurationDirector / OrganisationAuspicesFundExtent
 2013 Survey  PROF V GAFFNEY   

Artefact and Ecofact


Ecofact Notes

Monument Types

Monument Type 1Monument Type 2Monument Type 3OrderProbability