A Bradford team, led by Professor Ian Armit and Dr Lindsey Büster from the School of Archaeological Sciences, has recently been exploring a series of remote sea caves along the Moray Firth, in north-east Scotland.
Excavations at the Sculptor’s Cave, in the 1920s, revealed human remains, rich metalwork and other objects, dating to the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. The new excavations, however, have demonstrated that this was just part of an extensive coastal mortuary landscape involving numerous caves. New work at Covesea Cave 2, for example, has uncovered the disarticulated bones of numerous individuals, including several children. During the Late Bronze Age, bodies seem to have been brought to the caves for excarnation (the removal of the flesh from the bones); some body parts were later removed to other locations, perhaps for secondary burial or display, as part of a complex series of funerary rituals.