THE grave of a man or woman who lived in Scotland 4,000 years ago has been uncovered by archaeologists in a village on the shores of Loch Ness. 

A team probing the site of a development in Drumnadrochit made the discovery of a small stone-lined grave, known as a short cist, containing a single beaker pot. 

The burial site is the second to be found in the area, raising the possibility it was once a place sacred to its Bronze Age inhabitants.

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A previous dig at the site uncovered another grave containing skeletal remains and a wrist guard for use with a bow and arrow, along with shards of pottery.

Old plans of the site show it once contained a large cairn, and a further capstone has been uncovered, suggesting the ground could have been an ancient graveyard.

The archaeologists made the discovery near the new Drumnadrochit Medical Centre site, after they were called back this year to the mixed-use development site on behalf of Compass Building and Construction Services and Loch Ness Homes. 

Mary Peteranna, Operations Manager for AOC Archaeology’s Inverness office, said: “The discovery of a second Bronze Age cist on the site provides increasing evidence for the special selection of this site in the prehistoric landscape as a location for ceremonial funerary activity. 

"This cist, along with the medical centre cist and a second burial pit, is generating much more information about the prehistory of Glen Urquhart.” 

HeraldScotland: The beaker discovered in the grave

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The artefact discovered in the cist links the site to the Beaker people, the name given to a culture which flourished across northern Europe 4,000 years ago.

Today, it is cheifly identified by the sudden appearance of distinctive decorated pottery in graves from the period.

The era the Beaker People rose to prominence is associated with a cultural and technological revolution which saw the development of more settled societies and burial practices. 

With their distinctive flared necks and geometric patterns, the beakers they left behind are often found with other artefacts like arrowheads, wristguards and copper knives. 

The new Drumnadrochit pot is a small beaker with simple incised decoration similar to other Scottish examples dating to between 2200-1900 BC. 

It is similar in size to one found on the medical centre site in 2015, although with a less ornate design. Tests will now be carried out to see if it contained an offering at the time of burial. 

Other finds uncovered at the dig include more prehistoric pottery, burnt plant remains and stone tools, including a flint scraper. 

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Mrs Peteranna added: “Historically, there was a large cairn shown on maps of the area but you can imagine that centuries of ploughing in these fields have removed any upstanding reminders of prehistoric occupation. 

"During the work, we actually found a displaced capstone from another grave that either has not survived or has not yet been discovered. So it’s quite likely that these graves were covered by stone cairns or mounds, long-since ploughed out.

“We are grateful for the support of Compass, who has been enthusiastic about the discoveries on the site. These findings are exciting for the community, with whom the value of the archaeology has the most meaning.

"Our results add time depth to the stories of the Great Glen and Loch Ness – one of the most renowned landscapes in the world.”

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The development is in progress on land to the northeast of the A82 opposite the new medical centre.

Donald MacKenzie, of Compass Builders, said: “The development will provide an exciting combination of both Private and Affordable housing in tandem with retail facilities for Drumnadrochit.”