The Lochbrow Landscape Project is co-ordinated by Dr Helen Goodchild, Dr Dorothy Graves McEwan and Dr Kirsty Millican. It is an ongoing project investigating the archaeological sites and landscapes at and around Lochbrow in Dumfries and Galloway.
Lochbrow is situated around 2.5km south of the village of Johnstonebridge, and around 10km north of Lockerbie. Here, a complex of archaeological sites have been recorded as cropmarks on aerial photographs, indicative of a multi-period site with a complicated development sequence. These include a timber cursus (a long enclosure defined by timber posts) and at least two timber circles and round barrows. Timber cursus monuments are an Early Neolithic monument form exclusive to Scotland, with around 26 known to date. Timber circles and round barrows are more common phenomena found throughout the British Isles, dating from the later Neolithic to the Bronze Age. As the formation of cropmarks varies considerably at Lochbrow, unresponsive areas may mask additional features, suggesting that more may remain to be discovered. Consequently this is a monument complex that will benefit from intensive investigation.
The first stage of the project concentrates on the earliest monuments as the likely initial focus for prehistoric activity in this location. A pilot gradiometry survey in November 2010 indicated higher resolution geophysical surveys might improve our understanding of the area. Therefore, detailed topographic, gradiometry and resistivity surveys followed in September 2011 and 2012.
The second stage of the project broadens the investigation to consider the subsequent development of the monuments at Lochbrow within its wider surrounding landscape. This involves the expansion of the geophysical and topographic surveys to investigate additional cropmarks, of later date, to the south of the initial survey area.
The overall aims of this project are to:
- gain a better understanding of a complicated, multi-period site, with a specific focus upon the Neolithic elements.
- investigate the relationship between the site and its layout in the landscape
- study the wider location of this timber monument to investigate the possibility of additional activity around the location of the monument, not recorded as cropmarks.
- investigate long-term relationships to place and the use and development of the landscape
- demonstrate the value of an innovative methodology integrating different research techniques for the investigation of a complex site (cropmark analysis, geophysics, 3D and predictive modelling, etc)