Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

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georgersweir
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Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by georgersweir »

While browsing a library website, I came across a paper called 'Into the west: excavation of an Early Christian cemetery at Montfode, Ardrossan, North Ayrshire'. The abstract for the paper (published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. 139, pp. 195-211, 2009) is quoted below:
A previously unknown cemetery of 60 graves, a mix of long cists, partial cists and simple earth-dug graves, some within a sub-circular enclosure, was located and excavated on the banks of the Montfode Burn near Ardrossan. The work was carried out in 2003, in advance of the construction of the A78 Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston bypass, funded by Transport Scotland and managed by Historic Scotland. Although frequent throughout the south-east of Scotland, few Early Christian cemeteries have been identified in the south-west.
The age of the graves isn't clear but are locals aware of this discovery? Was the site covered by the new road?
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geomacintyre
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by geomacintyre »

By coincidence, I mentioned this paper to Hughie this morning. I came across it on the British Library site where I found the old drawing of Ardrossan Castle. There is a copyright fee for the whole report but I will be in London at the beginning of July and will be staying just round the corner from the British Library so will pop in to have a look at the original. Will keep you posted.
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George Ardrossan
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by George Ardrossan »

georgersweir wrote:The age of the graves isn't clear but are locals aware of this discovery?
George

I have a vague recollection of the discovery. I think there may have been an article in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald but I don't remember any detail.

George
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by georgersweir »

Two further insights on the graves discovered at Montfode in 2003:

1.According to Scotlands Places:
excavation revealed the complete plan of the enclosure and a total of 60 cist and earth graves. The graves were concentrated in the SE of the site near an entrance in the enclosure ditch. The acidic nature of the soil meant that little bone survived. Few features were located away from this focus and few finds were recovered. Until results of radiocarbon dating have been received, the site cannot be dated more tightly than to the later part of the 1st millennium AD.
2. A picture of one grave excavation is available here on Flickr.
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by geomacintyre »

To the best of my knowledge one sample of human bone from a long cist grave, carbonised grain from the backfill of three earth-dug graves and charcoal and carbonised grain from two post-holes were radiocarbon dated. I believe the results gave ranges of AD540-650; AD575 to 670; AD530-650 (twice); AD 555 to 655; and one that seemed to suggest prehistoric activity on the site was dated to 1540-1410BC. Wonder how many Adrossanites are linked to these family trees?
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by geomacintyre »

Been a while since we visited this topic but Headland Archaeology (http://www.headlandarchaeology.com) whose people carried out the excavation of the early Christian burials at Montfode have today sent me this photograph of the site with permission to use it on Threetowners.
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Photograph courtesy of Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd.
Photograph courtesy of Headland Archaeology (UK) Ltd.
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by Hughie »

See first post by George Weir Here

You can read and download the report in a PDF file from this page
http://journals.socantscot.org/index.ph ... /view/9733
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by 0802 »

Interesting read. Thanks for putting it up.
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by Hughie »

There are more images on this cemetery in the following flickr album: :puter

https://www.flickr.com/photos/topmast/a ... 0266665557
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Re: Early Christian cemetery at Montfode

Post by exile »

DIdn't realise that the words "cist" and "chest" have the same origin
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