These pictures, fresh from the Strathearn Environs & Royal Forteviot (SERF) project in Perthshire, show the unfolding moments as a crane lifts a gigantic capstone from an early Bronze Age tomb – revealing a stone lined grave that last saw the light of day some 3500 years ago. You can almost hear the archaeologists gasp, Howard Carter-Style, before professionalism kicks back in and they get down to the graft of recording.
“The huge capstone sealed the grave so well that organic materials survived intact as well as various metal objects that were buried with an important Bronze Age individual. Dr Kenneth Brophy, SERF co-director, said: ‘The high quality of preservation is virtually unique in Britain and is of exceptional importance for understanding the important centuries when metals were first introduced into Scotland.’
Although few remains of a body were discovered, it was clear that the deceased had been laid on a bed of quartz pebbles in sand in a large stone coffin. Amongst the grave goods was a bronze dagger with a gold band, possibly still in its leather sheath, a discovery of national significance. Beside this lay a leather bag or container, strange wooden objects and other plant matter which may represent floral tributes. Remarkably, large portions of the birch bark coffin survived as well.”