REPORT NO. 1367 Issue 51 November, 2002 Central Area Services Committee 15th November, 2002 Agenda Item No. 13 CENTRAL AREA BULLETIN A brief summary of developments and initiatives in the Central Area ------------------------HOLLY ROAD, LEVEN – BRONZE AGE CEMETERY EXCAVATION PROJECT Background In early 2002, Boyack Homes Ltd entered into pre-application discussions regarding the development of Phase II of a green field site at Holly Road, Leven. The Archaeological Unit of the Fife Council Planning and Building Control Service determined that there was a strong potential for as yet unrecorded archaeological deposits to exist in the area proposed for development. Consequently, steps were taken to determine the extent of this archaeological implication and a sample area of the development site was excavated. The results of this investigation were startling. The evaluation revealed that a large, nationally important cemetery of Bronze Age date (c.3500-4000 years old) covered much of the area proposed for development. Action Strategy In order to safeguard this nationally important archaeological site from destruction, a recommendation was made to preserve the site by record, ie. to excavate it. A package was therefore put together that allowed for the excavation of this site. This package included generous funding from the Levenmouth Area Capital Budget, match funding from the Planning and Building Control Service budget and support in kind from Boyack Homes Ltd, Historic Scotland, Stirling University (Environmental History Unit), the Council for Scottish Archaeology and the National Museums of Scotland. Further assistance, support and funded specialist techniques were supplied by Channel 4’s Time Team programme in return for permission to participate in, and film the excavations. The Excavations/ - 2 The Excavations The excavation of the site commenced on Saturday 27th July. The Time Team then joined the project for 3 days from Monday 29th July to Wednesday 31st July. However, the excavations, directed by the Council’s Archaeologist, Douglas Speirs, were continued for a further two weeks by Scotia Archaeology Ltd, a contractual archaeological company brought in to supply assistance. Discoveries and Results The excavations revealed a previously unrecorded Early Bronze Age cemetery (c. 4,000 years old) enclosed within a ditch. The cemetery contained 11 cist burials (stone graves) and at least one unaccompanied cremation burial of possible Neolithic date (c.5,000 years old). The acidity of the soil resulted in the poor preservation of human skeletal material, but significant partial skeletal collections were recovered. The excavations also resulted in the discovery of 4 complete and 2 broken prehistoric food vessels (Yorkshire vase types). This is the single largest and most important collection of this type of early prehistoric pottery so far excavated in a single context. A single, high quality flint blade (English origin) and two stone amulets were also recovered. Post-Excavation Analysis Since the completion of field excavations in mid-August, work has been continuing on the post-excavation analysis. Samples of bone and wood have been sent to Groningen University in Holland for accelerated mass spectrosopy radiocarbon dating. This is a revolutionary new dating technique that works well on bone. However, it is a slow technique and the results will probably not be returned until December 2002. Analysis of the environmental data gathered during excavations is ongoing at Stirling University. The analysis of pollen and seed deposits will eventually reveal details of the environmental conditions in Bronze Age Fife. Conservation of the pottery, flint and stone finds has been completed at the National Museums of Scotland (Artefact Research Unit) and work has started on examining, illustrating and writing scientific reports on these artefacts. The pottery reports are complete and extreme importance of this pottery assemblage has now been recognised. Detailed research on the skeletal material recovered is ongoing at the National Museums of Scotland. Preliminary results have indicated the general age, sex and health of some of the better-preserved skeletons. Unusually, the majority of the graves appear to contain young male children, although one young female (c. 9-13 years old) and 1 adult male (c.25-35 years old at death) have also so far been identified. The/ - 3 The geophysical and remote sensing data has been collated for publication. Both magnetic resonance and resistivity techniques were applied across the site and the results of this work has indicated the processes of site formation that have resulted in this site’s formation and appearance. The final site plans, section drawings, levels and other adjusted site data has been produced and an archived copy has been made and submitted to the National Monuments Record of Scotland as permanent archive of the work undertaken. Continued research, analysis and report-writing is ongoing and it is planned that a detailed account of the excavations will be published next year in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. It is also planned to produce a booklet on the excavations for dissemination throughout Levenmouth and the wider Fife area. Final discussions are also currently ongoing with the producers of Channel 4’s Time Team programme to ensure that the full story of this remarkable site is properly told when the programme is broadcast in February, 2003. Project Expenditure It is anticipated that the full project costs will run to around £30,000. This sum would have been much higher if it were not for the assistance in kind received from Historic Scotland, the Council for Scottish Archaeology, the National Museums of Scotland and Channel 4’s Time Team. Income & Spend To Date Income Levenmouth Area Capital Budget - £15,000 Planning & Building Control Service budget - £15,000 Outgoing Evaluation excavation Archaeological contractor’s costs for full open area excavation Pottery fabric identification Archive collation and deposition With NMRS (RCAHMS) Anticipated Spend Summary/ Outgoing Radio carbon dates Environmental sampling Report writing and publication Specialist reports (bones, flint, pottery, soils, geophysics) Booklet production £1,057 £8,624 £ 300 £ 650 £2,900 £3,000 £5,000 £3,000 £5,000 - 4 Summary and Conclusion The excavations undertaken by Fife Council at Holly Road, Leven, have resulted in the identification and preservation (by record) of one of the most important Bronze Age archaeological sites in Scotland. Indeed, the results of this excavation will considerably extend our understanding of life in Bronze Age Scotland. As Dr Alison Sheridan (Keeper of Archaeology, National Museums of Scotland) recently said in a lecture announcing the discoveries made at Holly Road, this site will “mark Leven as one of the most significant centres of prehistoric archaeology in Scotland”. It is hoped that upon completion of the post-excavation analysis, the artefacts and materials excavated at this site will be awarded to Kirkcaldy Museum. The Archaeological Unit has already begun lobbying for this outcome and it is hoped that the first of a series of exhibitions in Central Fife on this site will be held shortly. Discussions between Fife Council Planning Officers and Boyack Homes Ltd are continuing regarding ways to permanently record or commemorate the site of this important discovery. TRADING STANDARDS ACTIVITIES Fife Fireworks Safety Group The Fife Fireworks Safety Group led by the Trading Standards Service includes the Police, Fire Service, Community Services, Home Safety and a professional display organiser. The aim of the group is to co-ordinate all activities relating to the safety of fireworks and bonfires during the Guy Fawkes season. All activities involving the Police form part of “Safer Scotland 4” [their annual autumn safety initiative]. Activities of the group include: Registration of all firework sellers by Trading Standards. Joint visits by Trading Standards and the Police to all firework sellers. Fireworks tested at Fife Fire and Rescue HQ by Trading Standards. The implementation of Police action plans for “Hotspots”. Community Services register bonfires and displays that use public land. Home Safety organise the schools poster competition. Training for Community Groups running displays was held on 8th October at Police HQ. Fife/ - 5 Fife Fire and Rescue to be present at supermarkets etc. to hand out safety leaflets. Education Service has received DTI schools packs for use with primary and lower secondary pupils. A quantity of fireworks was seized from Methil market on Friday 11th October. A report is to be prepared for the Procurator Fiscal. It is illegal to sell fireworks in a public place and it is illegal to store fireworks at a site that is not registered. Scottish and UK developments in fireworks safety: A ban on airbombs will come into effect on 1st January 2003. Firework importers are imposing a voluntary ban on “cheap” packs of rockets. New storage regulations will become law during 2003. The COSLA fireworks task group has made recommendations centred around noise and importation of fireworks and enforcement of nuisance complaints. Experiential Learning Events Safe Fifer In September, Trading Standards participated in this event dealing with some East Fife and all of Central Fife Primary 7 school pupils. The Service joined with Home Safety to produce the ever-popular holiday scenario. West Fife and the majority of East Fife Primary 7s attended an identical event in May. Safety and Health Event for over 60's Three pilot events have been held in Fife during September and October. They were organised on behalf of the respective area Home Safety Forums. In Central Fife the events were a series of workshops on the theme of “Intrusive Marketing”. Doorstep Selling, junk mail and telephone sales are issues that particularly affect the elderly and the Service offered to process applications for the Mailing and Telephone Preference Services on behalf of participants. Inspections The Trading Standards Service carries out an annual planned programme of inspection visits to business premises in Fife. Many visits are made to traders operating in the leisure industry, especially those offering accommodation and the supply of food and drink to guests. The purpose of these visits is to check whether or not traders are complying with those trading standards laws relevant to their business. For example, the Development of Tourism Act requires hotels and guest houses to display the prices of their accommodation in their reception area or, if there is not one, at their entrance. Other/ - 6 Other laws regulate the price display of food and drink offered for sale, and the sizes and accuracy of measures used for dispensing drinks. Although the country has gone metric in terms of the measurement of spirits and wine, we have retained the pint measure for the sale of beer. Officers conducting these visits will ensure that appropriate price lists are displayed and will occasionally carry out what are known as "test purchases" where they will make a purchase as an ordinary customer, then check that the correct measure is delivered and the right price is charged. Officers also carry small test sticks that allow for a simple test on the authenticity of certain brand name spirits in order to check that the public is not being duped into buying cheaper substitutes. The Trading Standards Service will also investigate complaints concerning these matters. Traders not complying with these laws are usually offered advice or given warnings in the first instance, but those engaged in fraudulent practices are liable to be prosecuted. Officers have made 40 inspection visits to hotels, guest houses, public houses, licensed restaurants and other similar businesses in the Central Area during this year to date. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS – KIRKCALDY HIGH STREET Transportation Services will be erecting the Christmas lights in Kirkcaldy High Street and the switch on will take place on 17th November and will be carried out by the Langtoun Lad and Lass. A report on future contract arrangements for the provision of the lights will be submitted to committee in the New Year. FIFE ART EXHIBITION The 19th annual Fife Art Exhibition opened at Kirkcaldy Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday, 2nd November and runs until Friday, 29th November. Sponsored by Shell UK Exploration and Production, the event provides an unrivalled opportunity for amateur artists in Fife to display their original and lively creations. More than 500 works produced by over 300 artists will be shown, ranging from paintings and photographs to sculpture and craftwork. Six artworks will be selected by an independent panel for purchase by Shell Expro and the six winners also receive a Shell Expro award of £100. The prize-winning artworks will then be donated by Shell to Fife Health Board for display in local health care centres. The remaining works on show will be available for sale to the public. As part of the exhibition, the Museum are hosting a series of talks in November, including the following – Wednesday, 13th November (2.00 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.) – The Art of Jewellery Making The international artist, Ann Little, will be giving an informal talk about her work to date. Wednesday/ - 7 Wednesday, 20th November (2.00 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.) – Scottish Contemporary Crafts Amanda Game, Director of the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, will be speaking about the temporary Scottish craft scene. The admission charge for talks is £2.00 which includes coffee, tea and biscuits. Places are limited and should be booked in advance by ringing the Museum on 412860. FINANCIAL INCLUSION A report giving an update on financial inclusion initiatives in the Central Area over the past six months and outlining future proposals is attached to the Bulletin.