A group of archaeologists has discovered what they are believed to be Scotland's first storage pantries. The find occurred during construction work at Dunstaffnage near Oban (Scotland) and belongs to six circular houses from the Bronze Age.
The researchers, led by Dr. Clare Ellis, claim that the round houses discovered are the first in Scotland to contain a ditch which was probably used for chill food. A ventilation system has also been found that led to the central stoves, allowing occupants to regulate heating, and the remnants of what could be a very primitive form of sauna.
According to Ellis, the most significant find are the trenches: “This is a new design that has not been recognized or seen before in Scotland. The theory we have is that they are low cellars that had wooden floors over them, more or less as an early form of pantry. In the Iron Age the pantries had a flattened shape, so these seem to be their precursors”.
But the researcher does not detract from the other discoveries and highlights the importance of ventilation ducts that reach the stove: "The ducts were lined with wood, so that the air could escape and, from time to time, the trenches were cleaned. It's a new design that we've never really seen in Scotland before either”.
Apart from what Dr. Ellis said, archaeologists have also unearthed small burial sites and a stone hammer dating from between 3,000 and 4,000 yearsas well as a flint brought from Ireland and various pieces of decorated pottery believed to have been used to bury charred human remains.
The area around Oban was populated by man in the Bronze Age due to its climate. This is what explains the number of settlements that have been found throughout the area and in Dunstaffnage, about four miles to the north. Even so, Ellis is quite enthusiastic about the discovery made: “It is rare to have so many circular houses that have survived together. They are not very big, so they surely belonged to ordinary people”.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.