This volume presents the results of fieldwork on the East Lothian coastal plain in south-east Scotland investigating the nature of later prehistoric settlement around the hillfort of Traprain Law. Following geomagnetic surveys at thirty sites, six enclosures were excavated, three extensively. All six had complex occupation histories, involving multiple acts of enclosure, as well as phases of open settlement and use for other purposes such as burial. Their combined chronological span extends from the fourth millennium BC to the dawn of the Early Historic period.
The four curvilinear enclosures were apparently constructed in the late second or early first millennium BC. The short-lived hillslope enclosure at Standingstone occupied the site of an earlier Bronze Age burial ground and open settlement. At Whittingehame, a later scoop within a ravine-edge enclosure was still a focus of agricultural activity as late as the sixth century AD. The two rectilinear enclosures were foundations of the later Iron Age, although a scooped settlement within the site at Knowes was inhabited well into the Roman Iron Age.
Thanks to these excavations and the wider studies of the cropmark record and material culture from East Lothian presented here, we can now begin to reconstruct settlement dynamics in the Traprain Law area and relate this to the sequence of activity on the hilltop between the second millennium BC and the mid-first millennium AD.
Colin Haselgrove is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester