Stidriggs Hoard

The Stidriggs Hoard was found on moors west of Beattock by the Royal Engineers Army Bomb Disposal Unit in 1985. Only five other similar finds have been made in Great Britain, and this is the only one from Scotland. We have few clues as to the purpose and meaning of these hoards because few have been found by planned archaeological excavation, and as a result detailed recordings of their surroundings have not been possible. Most hoards were chance finds made in the 19th century, while others were discovered by metal detecting or during gravel extraction.

The term "hoard" implies that the tools and their container were deliberately hidden by someone who intended to reclaim them later. The hoard might represent a ritual deposit made by relatives when the owner died, although no known burials have been found in association with tool hoards and few have been directly associated with settlements.  If the tools were purposely buried or hidden in boggy heath, this may have been for safekeeping in a period of trouble or because the owner was leaving and could not carry them on the journey.  The tools are quite varied; perhaps it was a small homesteader's tool kit, or it may have belonged to a smith or metalworker.

Archaeologists know very little about settlement in Annandale during this time.  The people who lived in the area may have been the descendants of earlier British tribes, Anglo-Saxons from Northumbria, settlers of Scandinavian Viking origin, or a mixture of these cultural groups.  Archaeological field surveys in the area where the Stidriggs hoard was found identified some evidence of farming, small settlements and a possible mill but these have not been excavated.

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