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Balladoyne Burial

Period: Early Medieval

NGR Easting: 227960

NGR Northing: 481600

Description: Balladoyne. Two slab-lined graves were discovered in 1937 by workmen digging sand and gravel on the south edge of St John's plateau overlooking the railway station in the southernmost part of field 2910 on OS Sheet 9/12 (circa SC 27968160). The complete removal of this part of the plateau was subsequently monitored by G J H Neely (Inspector of Ancient Monuments) who identified and surveyed a further thirty slate-slab lined and roofed graves with extended burials and a kiln-like structure containing charcoal. Five skulls were preserved at the Manx Museum for examination but the other burials and slate slabs were removed and re-buried nearby. No other finds were discovered in the graves but just beyond the foot of Grave 29, a group of Viking weapons, possibly representing a burial dating from the 9th century, were found. The finds were (i) a two-edged iron sword, 32 inch long (broken in six places and about 4 inch missing) of Jan Petersen type M, with a few fragments of wooden scabbard adhering to the blade (ii) an iron socketed-spearhead of Jan Petersen type K, broken across the socket, with traces of a woven linen for binding, in the socket. Traces of a coarser fabric were found adhering to the blade (iii) A bowl-shaped iron shield boss, 6 inch in diameter. The objects were found in a layer of sand about 2-3 foot below the original turf line and at the same general level as the slab-lined graves. The evidence was not sufficient to date the whole cemetery to the Viking Age but it seemed not unlikely that it belonged to the transition period when Viking settlers were turning to Christianity. The Cover slab of Grave 3 bore unique, lightly-incised designs on both faces, probably representing 200 morphic and/or human and symbolic figures, but could not be assigned to any definite period. It could not be assumed that the designs were of Early Christian or Viking Age; the style being more akin to prehistoric art groups. The slab may have served a totally different purpose

Site & Monument Type: burial

Category: National Monuments Record: Archaeological Sites [multi-site]

Site ID number: 0969.00

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