- HER number: MEL8327
- Site Name: Melville Nurseries
- Grid Reference: 331596 667397
- Civil Parish:
- Monument Type:
- Ring Ditch
- Linear Feature
- Summary: Cropmarks of settlement
- Description: NT36NW 102 316 674.
(1) To the E of Melville Nurseries and about 40m S of the A7 public road, cropmarks reveal a roughly circular enclosure measuring 15m in diameter within a narrow ditch; there is an entrance on the E. Various linear cropmarks visible in the area include a curving ditch 120m long, which cuts across the SW side of the enclosure from NW to SE.
(2) The ring ditch has long been known from air photographs. Re-examination of these, prior to the construction of the Dalkeith western bypass, revealed the existence of a further series of pairs of ditches.
Cuttings in the parallel ditches opened by machine and completed manually, revealed steep sided ditches, c80cm deep, with some of the segments containing 'ankle breaker' features. Large quantities of the fills were wet sieved during excavation, but no finds were recovered. One cutting exposed a fragment of cobble metalling between the ditches. The morphology and the absence of finds suggests that these ditches probably represent the fragments of a roadway. The profile of the ditches and their remarkable straightness, which ignore changes of slope, may indicate that they are of Roman date.
The ring-ditch consisted of a circular post trench with concentric inner and outer post-hole settings. The outer post setting was 17m in diameter. Within the inner post setting a further series of five post-holes was noted. At the east-facing entrance of the house the post trench turned outwards to form two 'horns' beside each of which a post-hole was revealed. The floor of this structure may have been at a slightly lower level than that of the surrounding land surface.
The building had been demolished and the larger posts uprooted. Large quantities of burnt debris were recovered, all consistent with the burning of a thatched roof. A small quantity of burnt daub was also recovered.
A series of three small hollows with distinctive fills partially underlay, and predated, the latter structure. Their date is unknown.
P C Raisen 1989.
The excavation archive from the cropmark sites of Melville Nurseries and Lugton Bogs has been catalogued. It consists of manuscripts, black and white negatives, slides and pencil drawings.
Historic Scotland Archive Project (SW) 2002
NMRS REPORT DATE: 12/09/2002
- For more information contact: MidLothian Council HER
- Related Places:
- Bibliographic reference: Raisen and Rees, P and T. 1996. 'Excavation of three crop-mark sites at Melville Nurseries, Dalkeith', Glasgow Archaeol J Vol. 19 1994-1995, p.31-50. 31-39, 41.
- Bibliographic reference: Raisen, P. 1990. 'Excavations at Melville Nurseries by Eskbank, Dalkeith, Midlothian', p.31-3. 31, 32 (Area 3).
- (1) Bibliographic reference: RCAHMS. 1988. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Midlothian (prehistoric to early historic), Midlothian District, Lothian Region. 29, No.140.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: Raisen, P C. 1989. 'Melville Nurseries, ring ditch, palisaded homestead and pair of ditches', Discovery Excav Scot 1989, p.53. 53.