A decorated beaker containing 10 and 6 sherds, glued together shortly after discovery. It is a reddish ware, semi-fine, with the decorated in alternating bands consisting of horizontal string and deep chevron impressions on the whole surface. It contained cremated bone when found.
"found in gravel knoll in farm of Shankhead" [Museum Diary].
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Object Detail

Measurement details
Dimensions:0 - Whole:H 12.3cm (H 4 13/16")
Dimensions:0 - Whole:Dia 11cm (Dia 4 5/16")
Discovery and Excavation in Scotland; Council for Scottish Archaeology; York Buildings 1 Queen St Edinburgh
Beakers.; Clarke; Archaeologist; 1970
Archives.; Falkirk Museums; Callendar House Callendar Park Falkirk FK1 1YR; estab. 1926
Archives.; Falkirk Museums; Callendar House Callendar Park Falkirk FK1 1YR; estab. 1926
Documentation notes
p.521, no 1781.
"Shankhead. On either side of the Buckieburn, in the hills south-west of Stirling, there are a number of mounds, all apparently of natural origin. On the south side is Ghosts Knowe, Craigengelt, excavated in 18--. Not far away, on the opposite bank, there is a prominent mound on the farm of Shankhead, from which the owner has dor some time taken gravel for road mending. Early in June some friends of his saw and pulled out a beaker from the northen lip of the gravel pit. They then dug round it, so that no traces of a grave remained for investigation, but by all accounts the space originally excavated in the gravel must have been small. They found a 'soft red stone', possibly a natural pebble, on the site, but this and some small fragments of beaker (which was cracked when found) were lost in carrying them home. On June 10th I was told of this, and later shown the beaker which Mr Peattie generously presented to the Falkirk Museum. On June 20th we began to investigate the site. (Bearings of the beaker position - 96.5 to Shankhead west gable, 280.5 to Craigengelt gable.) In the loam soil within the cutting there was found widely scattered cremated bone, and a small quantity of charcoal and other burnt material. Some of this was probably scattered in the preliminary excavation; the rest, from deeper down in loose soil, may have been scattered from beside the beaker when diggers came close to it, or may be a separate deposit.
After examining the loose earth and stones from the cutting in the centre of the mound, what remained of the two earthern quadrants of the mound was stripped down to gravel and the north-east section was probed, but no other grave was found. The southern half of the mound proved to be much disturbed by rabbits.
[Doreen Hunter 1960]
"The Shankhead Cremation, by FP Lisowski, Dept of Anatomy, University of Birmingham. The material from this site is composed of four lots, each of which is very fragmented, and the quantity available for investigation is small.
1. Cremated bone from loose soil. The fragments range in colour from grey to white. The skull is represented by one fragment of the vault and the vertebrae by two pieces of the body and two articular processes. Long bone fragments varying from 10-30mm are also present. Miscellaneous pieces 5-20mm long could not be identified.
2. Cremated bone from base of scree. The fragments vary from grey to white in colour and some of them are twisted and show eliptical cracks. Six peices of the vault and one incisor tooth represent the skull. One vertebral articular process and one femoral fragment 30mm long showing the linea aspera are also present. Other contents are various long bone fragments ranging from 10-30mm in length and miscellaneous unidentifiable fragments 5-20mm long.
3. Single deposit cremation near base of loose soil. The fragments are coloured grey to white and mixed with particles of peat. The skull is represented by two fragments of the vault and one incisor tooth. Part of a patella and various long bone fragments varying from 10-25mm in length, as well as miscellaneous unidentifiable pieces are present.
4. Part of a single deposit cremation? The colour of the fragments varies from grey to white. Two pieces of the skull vault and one of the iliac crest are present. Those of the long bones vary from 10-20mm in length and the unidentifiable miscellaneous fragments range from 5-10mm.
Owing to the paucity of material available none of the fragments can be reconstructed, nor can the number of individuals cremated, or the sex and the age be diagnosed. The teeth are those of the permanent dentition and all that can be stated is that they blonge to an individual of or above seven years of age.
The possibility that Lots 3 and 4 belong together cannot be excluded. Indeed it is very likely that all four lots are the scattered parts of one cremation. On the other hand some cremations have been multiple, but in this case the insuffciiency of material does not allow for an assessment. It is a fact that in other cremations where small amounts of skeletal material have been discoveredd in different places on the same site, these were found after careful search and attempts at reconstruction to belong together."
Field collection reference
Denny Hills
Accession number


Subject category