Sep 21 2012 by Sharon Liptrott, Dumfries Standard Friday
AN unassuming field off the M74 near Lockerbie is to be the focus of a major geophysical survey next week by top archaeologists.
It is believed that the empty land at Lochbrow was an important location over several thousands of years from the Neolithic to the Iron Age periods.
There is nothing physical to see above ground there but grass and cows, however, it is what lies beneath that has got experts so excited.
Aerial surveys by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland show cropmarks formed by the growth of crops over buried archaeology – pits and ditches – on the multi-period site.
And it is believed it is a complex prehistorical landscape with many archaeological sites surviving below ground.
They are particularly interested in the cropmarks of two palisaded enclosures and a ring-ditch.
Archaeologists from the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and York and RCAHMS will be on site from Monday to Thursday to carry out the geophysical survey and members of the public have signed up to take part under the Discovering Dumfries and Galloway’s Past project as volunteers. There will also be a talk at Lockerbie Town Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday by Dr Kirsty Millican, an historic land-use assessment officer with RCAHMS and authority on cropmark archaeology and the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods in Scotland.
Kirsty will discuss what she describes as Lockerbie’s “hidden prehistoric gem”, with cropmarks showing “a concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments”.
She has been part of a research team on the Lochbrow Landscape Project since 2010, trying to understand its importance, what was there, and using non-destructive techniques to find answers.
The experts believe there is a timber cursus monument (long enclosure defined by timber posts) which is Early Neolithic and exclusive to Scotland, of which around only 26 are known to date.
And possibly two timber circles, which are another monument dating from the Later Neolithic into the Bronze Age, and several round barrows which are later prehistoric monuments.
The project is also looking into the landscape around Lochbrow.