Manor Valley buildings are centuries older than thought

The dig at Glenrath last summer
The dig at Glenrath last summer
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A free lecture tonight (Thursday) is set to overturn assumptions about how old ancient buildings in the Manor Valley, near Peebles, are.

Archaeologists Andy Heald and Graeme Cavers and Arthur Trail Association (ATA) chairman and project organiser Robin Crichton from Traquair will reveal the results of last summer’s dig of the roundhouse and a long building at Glenrath in the talk at Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre at 7.30pm.

The community project, ‘Hidden History of the Scottish Borders in the Time of King Arthur’, is part of the ATA’s work to develop at trail of little-known Dark Age sites across southern and central Scotland.

Dr Cavers said: “The roundhouse was previously thought to date from the late first millennium BC or perhaps the Roman period, along with the field system associated with it, but the carbon dates show the building was occupied in the Bronze Age, around 1,000 years earlier. This shows how important the Glenrath remains are, since they are a rare example of prehistoric settlement and agriculture in a lowland setting that has survived later farming, which usually destroys traces like these.

“The long building was interesting because it was quite different to other buildings in the area, and it was possible that it dated to the first millennium AD or the medieval period. The excavations showed that what had appeared to be a single long building was in fact an accumulation of lots of different phases of building.

“It’s possible that the earliest of these was in the post-Roman or early Historic period, with later rebuilding in the medieval period.

“These types of remnants don’t really survive; this kind of settlement was everywhere across the south of Scotland.”

Volunteers and over 200 local schoolchildren helped in the survey and excavation of the kilometre-long site from June through to the end of August.

The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Borders Council.

The free lecture at Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, starts at 7.30pm.