Balbridie is the site of a
Neolithictimber-house in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, situated in the south Deesidenear the B9077 road. This archaeological site is one of the earliest permanent neolithic settlements in Scotland dating to 3400 to 4000 BC. [Peter S. Bellwood, "First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies", 2005, Blackwell Publishing, 360 pages ISBN 0631205667] [A.D.Fairweather and I. Ralston, 1993, "The Neolithic Timber Hall at Balbridie", Antiquity 67: 313-323] In a European context, Whittle has indicated the rarity of such large Neolithic timber houses, citing Balbridie, a hall in Cambridgeshireand Fengateas a small set of such finds. [A. W. R. Whittle and Norman Yoffee, "Europe in the Neolithic: The Creation of New Worlds", 1996, Cambridge UniversityPress, 459 pages ISBN 052144920] The site is situated in the Deesideto the north of the Durris Forest. [United Kingdom Ordnance Survey Map Landranger 45, Stonehaven and Banchory, 1:50,000 scale, 2004] Historical structures in this local area include Crathes Castle, Maryculter House, Netherley Houseand Muchalls Castle.
The Balbridie site was not discovered until the year 1976 when
aerial photographyrevealed cropmarkssuggesting a very large structure [Archibald Watt, "Highways and Byways around Kincardine", Stonehaven Heritage Society (1985)] in an otherwise agricultural area. Subsequent archaeological work on site allowed the conceptual reconstruction of an enormous timber structure including the identification of large timber postholes.
Relationship to other very early features
The vicinity of Balbridie includes a number of other notable archaeological features including the Neolithic site of
Bucharn. Watt has pointed out that this local area attracted an unusual density of very early settlement in Scotland, possibly being the earliest area of permanent settlement in that country. Balbridie is not only close to the River Deebut also to the Elsick Mounth trackway; this ancient route was used by the Romans in their northern movement through Scotland, specifically connecting Raedykesto Normandykes Roman Camps.
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