South Scotland

Hidden treasures of Dunragit bypass works revealed

Artefacts Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Transport Minister Keith Brown said the discoveries could reveal a great deal about the history of south west Scotland

A £17m bypass project in southern Scotland has unearthed a "remarkable" haul of ancient artefacts.

Work is almost complete on the scheme at Dunragit in Dumfries and Galloway.

Transport Minister Keith Brown unveiled full details of the discoveries made during the planning and construction of the bypass.

They include the earliest known Mesolithic dwellings in south west Scotland, believed to be a hunting camp dating back to 7000 BC.

Mr Brown said the discoveries, which included rare bead necklaces dating to around 2000 BC, were "truly remarkable" and helped "shine a light on Scotland's ancient past".

Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption A reconstruction shows how an Iron Age settlement in the area of the bypass works at Dunragit might have looked

He added that they could tell "so much about our history in south west Scotland".

"The concentration of artefacts from the Mesolithic to post-medieval periods was highly unexpected, but gives an invaluable insight into the land use and settlement of south west Scotland over the past 9,000 years," he said.

"The necklaces are of particular interest because they are the first such necklaces to be uncovered in the south west of Scotland."

Image copyright Scottish government
Image caption Investigation works were carried out during the £17m bypass project

The finds included:

  • More than 13,500 Mesolithic flints
  • An early Neolithic settlement
  • A Bronze Age cemetery complex
  • Early Bronze Age stone-lined cist burials with grave goods including ceramic food vessels, a flint knife, and two rare jet bead necklaces
  • Bronze Age cremation urns and pottery sherds
  • Six Iron Age roundhouses and Iron Age pottery

Among the discoveries unveiled in Edinburgh were:

  • One of two rare jet bead necklaces, the first ever uncovered in the region, dating to around 2000 BC
  • A cremation urn, a beaker and a food vessel
  • An Iron Age brooch
  • Flint arrow heads, a ceremonial flint dagger blade, a serrated scraper (for removing hide) and flint blade (for cutting)
  • A stone adze (for cultivation), stone hammers and a stone gaming piece

The scheme on the A75 removes traffic from Dunragit village and cuts out the height-restricted Challoch Bridge.

It has been hit by vehicles more than 50 times in the last seven years.

Image copyright Other
Image caption A huge range of artefacts were uncovered during the works at the site

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