Coffin cover (fragment)

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From Dalrigh, near Oban, Argyll

Postcard of Coffin cover (fragment).
© National Museums Scotland

Coffin cover (fragment)

This fragment of a birch bark coffin cover was found in peat at Dalrigh near Oban in Argyll, covering a dugout tree trunk coffin. It is unique in Scotland, and a rare survival of an object made from birch bark. It dates from between 2040 and 1740 BC.

The coffin cover was made from sheets of bark stripped from birch trees and sewn together.

Birch bark is a useful material for making covers and containers. It can be pulled off the tree in long strips and can be sewn. Bronze Age burials in tree-trunk coffins are very rare in Scotland, but several are known from northern England.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-764-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EQ 192
Date: 2040 - 1740 B.C.
Between 2040 and 1740 BC
Material: Wood, birch bark; made of pieces sewn together
What: Body cover, coffin / fragment
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Oban
Description: Fragment of sewn birch bark body cover from a timber coffin, from Oban, Argyll, 2040 - 1740 B.C.
  • Mapleton, R.J. Notice of the discovery of an old canoe in a peat-bog at Oban. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 13 (1878-9), pp 336-8. 
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