The Traprain Law Environs Project: Fieldwork and Excavations 2000–2004


Colin Haselgrove (ed)


Settlement pattern, Enclosure, Geophysical survey, Material culture, Roman contacts

East Bearford, Foster Law, Haddington, Knowes, Standingstone, Whittinghame, East Linton, East Lothian, Scotland


Later Prehistoric; Bronze Age; Early Iron Age; Middle Iron Age


This volume presents the results of fieldwork on the East Lothian coastal plain in south-east Scotland investigating the nature later prehistoric settlement around the hillfort of Traprain Law. Following geomagnetic surveys at thirty sites, six enclosures were excavated, three extensively. All six had complex occupation histories, involving multiple acts of enclosure, as well as phases of open settlement and use for other purposes such as burial. Their combined chronological span extends from the fourth millennium BC to the dawn of the Early Historic period.

The four curvilinear enclosures were apparently constructed in the later second or early first millennium BC. The short-lived hillslope enclosure at Standingstone occupied the site of an earlier Bronze Age burial ground and open settlement. At Whittingehame, a later scoop within a ravine-edge enclosure was still a focus of agricultural activity as late as the sixth century AD. The two rectilinear enclosures were foundations of the later Iron Age, although a scooped settlement within the site at Knowes was inhabited well into the Roman Iron Age.

Thanks to these excavations and the wider studies of the cropmark record and material culture from East Lothian presented here, we can now begin to reconstruct settlement dynamic in the Traprain Law area and relate this to the sequence of activity on the hilltop between the second millennium BC and the mid-first millennium AD.


This collaborative programme of research represents an exemplary landmark, and all involved deserve support and congratulation.

– Dennis W Harding (Antiquity)


Canmore ID 56406 – East Bearford

Canmore ID 56215 – East Linton

Canmore ID 56315 – Foster Law

Canmore ID 57720 – Knowes

Canmore ID 56438 – Standingstone

Canmore ID 57809 – Whittinghame


  • Front matter
    Colin Haselgrove
  • 1 | Introduction
    Colin Haselgrove, Leon Fitts
  • 2 | Survey in the Traprain Law Environs Project area
    David C Cowley, Duncan Hale, Fraser Hunter, Kevin H J Macleod
  • 3 | Excavations at Whittingehame Tower
    Colin Haselgrove, Peter Carne, Leon Fitts
  • 4 | Excavations at Standingstone
    Colin Haselgrove, Peter Carne, Leon Fitts, Alison Sheridan, Charlotte Henderson
  • 5 | Excavations at Knowes
    Colin Haselgrove, Leon Fitts, Peter Carne, Anwen Caffell
  • 6 | The evaluations at East Bearford, Foster Law and East Linton
    Colin Haselgrove, Duncan Hale
  • 7 | The Material Remains
    Fraser Hunter, Pamela Lowther, Ann MacSween, Dave Heslop, Cath McGill, Jason Mole, Jennifer Price, Steven Willis
  • 8 | Environment and subsistence economy
    the charred and waterlogged plant remains and animal bones
    Jacqui Huntley, Charlotte O'Brien, Louisa Gidney
  • 9 | Absolute Dating
    Derek Hamilton, Colin Haselgrove
  • 10 | The Traprain environs in a regional perspective
    David C Cowley
  • 11 | Characterising the Traprain Law environs
    some reflections
    Colin Haselgrove
  • Appendix 1
    Cropmark evidence and geophysical survey: a comparison of results from sites investigated by the TLEP
    Duncan Hale, David C Cowley
  • Appendix 2
    Recent works on 'stray finds' of Roman objects in East Lothian
    Fraser Hunter, Jennifer Price
  • Bibliography
    Colin Haselgrove
  • Index
    Colin Haselgrove
  • Plates
    Colin Haselgrove


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Author Biography

Colin Haselgrove

Professor Colin Haselgrove is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester. He studied Biochemistry at Sussex and then Archaeology at Cambridge. He came to Leicester in 2005 having taught at Durham University from 1977–2004. He was Head of the School of Archaeology & Ancient History from 2006 to 2012 and retired in 2021. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2009. His recent published titles include The Oxford Handbook of the European Iron Age Oxford (ed with K Rebay-Salisbury & P S Wells, Oxford University Press, 2022) and Iron Age and Roman coin hoards in Britain Oxford (with R. Bland, A Chadwick, E Ghey, D Mattingly, A Rogers & J Taylor, Oxbow, 2020).



May 26, 2023

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