During excavations of Roman and Iron Age features in a field at Carronbridge in Dumfriesshire in 1989 the remains of a sword which had been in a scabbard, a late 8th/early 9th century silver penannular brooch of Insular manufacture (a Pictish/Irish hybrid, possibly old when buried), and a sickle were found close together in the ploughsoil above a penannular enclosure in use c. 145-245 CE. Although no body was found, or evidence of a grave, the concentration of the artefacts in a small area and the organic material found on the artefacts strongly suggests that this was a burial. As well as being on top of an earlier structure, which was probably visible as a surface feature (it is still visible today on aerial photographs), the burial was a few metres from a cobbled road up to 3m wide, probably Roman in origin, which led to an important river crossing. Burials in earlier landscape features and near roads are well known elsewhere in Britain. Finally, beyond the burial the ground descends dramatically into the Nithdale, with the burial site overlooking that valley and the River Nith.
GPS: N 55° 15.622, W 003° 46.798
NGR: NX 86989 97716
O. Owen & R. Welander, 1995, ‘A traveller’s end? – an associated group of Early Historic artefacts from Carronbridge, Dumfries & Galloway’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 125: 753-70.
J. Graham-Campbell, 2001, Whithorn and the Viking World. The Eighth Whithorn Lecture, 11th September 1999 (Whithorn: Friends of the Whithorn Trust): 17-18.
S. McLeod, 2014, ‘A traveller’s end?? – a reconsideration of a Viking Age burial at Carronbridge, Dumfriesshire’, Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society 88: 13-20.
At Whithorn a group of seven burials appear to be Scandinavian as they are not consistent with other burials at the monastic site. An infant was buried with two beads (one amber, one shale), and next to this burial was placed a bag containing the partially disarticulated remains of a male and female adult along with the forelimb of a cow. Above the adult and infant burials was spread a layer of cremated bones containing the remains of at least four individuals. These burials were beside the east outside wall of burial/mortuary chapel which had been damaged in a fire in c. 845 but may have been repaired by the time of the Scandinavian burials in c. 900. There can be little doubt that the mortuary chapel determined the burial location. The viewshed map has been provided to show the visibility of the mortuary chapel in the surrounding landscape (with a height input of 50cm), however the burials themselves may not have been visible as they were obscured by the building.
GPS: N 54° 43.996, W 004° 25.042
NGR: NX 44476 40313
P. Hill, 1997, Whithorn and St Ninian: The Excavation of a Monastic Town 1984-1991 (Stroud: Sutton Publishing).
In the 1880s the cemetery in (Old) St Cuthbert’s churchyard, Kirkcudbright, was extended up a steep hill, at which time was found a burial containing a sword, ringed pin, and glass bead. This burial was not a churchyard burial at the time, but clearly overlooked the churchyard, which is also thought to have contained a chapel to St Cuthbert. Sculpture of the Whithorn School has also been found in the churchyard, indicating that this was a high status site. The burial site also overlooked the River Dee. It is not sure exactly where on the hill the burial was found, so this site belongs in the ‘within 100m’ category.
GPS: N 54° 50.300, W 004° 02.427
NGR: NX 69073 51128
J. Graham-Campbell, 2001, Whithorn and the Viking World. The Eighth Whithorn Lecture, 11th September 1999 (Whithorn: Friends of the Whithorn Trust): 13-15.