Mon Jun 4, 2012 4:22PM
Archeological excavations at a housing development site at Dunstaffnage have yielded new evidence showing that British homes had cold storage larders 4,000 years ago. Cold storage larders, found at the Bronze Age site, are said to be some of the country’s earliest - precursors to the fridge. The larders were found during an investigation process of six roundhouses - an early form of refrigeration used to keep milk and meat from going off. “This is a new design, not recognized or seen before in Scotland,” said head of the archeology team Dr. Clare Ellis. “The general consensus was that ring ditches occur outside the roof supports of roundhouses, but still within the roundhouse structure, and were erosional features where animals were kept.” Ellis said the roundhouses are the first north of the Border to have ring ditches inside, adding that “these are inside the roof support area and the theory is that they are low cellars that would have had wooden floors over them.” According to Ellis, the discovered structures are the precursor to banana-shaped cellars of the Iron Age and were used to keep cheeses, milk, dried meat, salted fish and grain. The team also found air vents coming out of the ring ditches and the hearths. “These channels coming out are wood-lined vents to let air through and to allow the washing out of some of the ring ditches occasionally,” Ellis explained. “This is a new design that’s not really been recognized or seen in Scotland before.” Ancient burial pits and pottery were also among the finds along with a pock-marked hammerstone, dating back to about 4,000 years ago, which would have been used for mashing up vegetable matter. “They were probably just ordinary people living here, but I think, in relative terms, it could have been quite a populated landscape,” said Dr. Ellis. TE/TE