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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Wrappings of power: a woman’s burial in cattle hide at Langwell Farm, Strath Oykel
Authors: Lelong, Olivia
Arabaolaza, Iraia
Booth, Thomas
Evans, Jane
Evershed, Richard P
Harris, Susanna
Hollund, Hege
Keeley, Brendan
Lamb, Angela
Pickering, Matt
Pinder, A P
Ramsay, Susan
Walton, Rogers Penelope
Šoberl, Lucija
Wilson, Clare
Wilson, Lyn
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Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Citation: Lelong O, Arabaolaza I, Booth T, Evans J, Evershed RP, Harris S, Hollund H, Keeley B, Lamb A, Pickering M, Pinder AP, Ramsay S, Walton Rogers P, Šoberl L, Wilson C & Wilson L (2014) Wrappings of power: a woman’s burial in cattle hide at Langwell Farm, Strath Oykel, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 144, pp. 65-132.
Abstract: A well-preserved burial, discovered during peat clearing on Langwell Farm in Strath Oykel, Easter Ross, consisted of a stone cist that held the skeleton of a woman who had died in 2200–1960 cal BC. Although the cist contents were disturbed and partly removed before archaeological investigation took place, the burial rite can be interpreted to some extent. The woman, who died in her late 20s, had been wrapped in brown cattle hide, and wooden and woven objects were placed with her body. Periodic waterlogging created conditions that allowed the rare, partial preservation of the organic materials. Analysis of bone histology indicated that decay of the human remains had been arrested, either by deliberate mummification or waterlogging. The cist had been set into a low knoll on the valley floor and it may have been covered with a low cairn or barrow. This spot had been the site of a fire several hundred years earlier, and it may have been a node on a cross-country route linking east and west coasts in the Early Bronze Age. The use of animal hide suggests the creation and use of particular identities, linking the dead to ancestors and to powerful spiritual properties attributed to the natural world. The work was carried out for Historic Scotland under the Human Remains Call-off Contract.
Type: Journal Article
Rights: This article is Open Access under a CC-BY licence ( -
Affiliation: Northlight Heritage
GUARD Archaeology Ltd
The Natural History Museum
British Geological Society
University of Bristol
University of Glasgow
University of Stavanger
University of York
British Geological Survey
University of York
University of York
University of Glasgow
The Anglo Saxon Laboratory
Universidade de Évora
Biological and Environmental Sciences
Historic Scotland

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