East Lothian

Auldhame site location
Site of cemetery and chapel, Auldhame
Bass Rock in the Forth of Firth from the site
Law Rock from the site
View of the site from Tantallon Castle



In 2005 a 26-35 yo male was found buried at Seacliff, Auldhame east of Tantallon Castle, in an early Christian cemetery near a chapel site in a monastic setting (burials from c. 680). He was buried with a studded belt set(similar to one from Cnip, Outer Hebrides), a spear, and decorated iron spurs. The burial has been radiocarbon dated to the period 800-1000, but it has been suggested that the burial relates to the campaign of Olaf Guthfrithsson (King of York) in the area in 941 and may even be the king himself. However, this is only one possibility and isotope analysis failed to demonstrate that the burial was not of a local person. The site is on flat ground on a sea-cliff looking out to Forth of Firth and Bass Rock (location of the hermitage of St Baldred), with Law Rock inland. As with Whithorn, the viewshed map shows the visibility of the chapel since there is (as yet) no indication that the burial was marked in any way.

GPS: N 56° 03.239, W 002° 38.474
NGR: NT 60193 84747

Auldhame Cemetery and Chapel/Seacliff (item 11) available at http://www.johngraycentre.org/collections/getrecord/ELHER_MEL1743

A Crone and A Heald, ‘Auldhame: in search of a Viking King’, British Archaeology, vol. 141, 2015: 16-21.

Anne Crone and Erlend Hindmarsh with Alex Woolf, Living and Dying at Auldhame: The Excavation of an Anglian Monastic Settlement and Medieval Parish Church (Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2016).

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