Early Iron Age features from Blackford produced calcined animal bone of unspecified origins, as well as burnt animal dung (O’Connell and Anderson 2021, 125; 113). The acidic soils are cited as ‘one of the major reasons why inhumation burials are not a common feature in the Scottish archaeological record’ (O’Connell and Anderson 2021, 125) and the same can be said for animal remains of this, and all other, periods.
A wide range of monument types is represented in the Iron Age of the area (PKARF Iron Age section). None, unfortunately, has yielded the quality or quantity of faunal assemblages as recovered from broadly contemporary sites elsewhere in Scotland, such as Broxmouth fort, East Lothian (Barnetson 1982; Armit and McKenzie 2013). Only small fragments of calcined bone were found at forts recently excavated by the SERF project (Smith, unpubl. archive). The excavation of the forts of Moredun and Castle Law, Abernethy have produced larger assemblages of burnt and unburnt animal bones (Cook et al 2014; Cook et al 2018; Nicol et al 2017). In addition, the work at Castle Law, Abernethy has seen an important review of the bone assemblage recovered from the cistern in the 1890s excavation (Strachan et al forthcoming).
Monumental roundhouses, such as Aldclune, have produced some unburnt material. McCormick (1997, 446) reported that cattle dominated a small assemblage at Aldclune which also included pig, horse, red deer and sheep/goat. Spindle whorls attest to spinning. Presumably of wool; though it should be noted that flax and nettle fibres are also a possibility. Scarcity of bone was again attributable to soil acidity (McCormick 1997, 456). A similar site at Black Spout, Pitlochry produced a small assemblage of cattle and possibly sheep (Smith 2013, 49).
The dense concentration of souterrains within the area has produced little bone. At Newmill, Bankfoot, burnt cattle bones were present as well as a horn core (species not stated) suggested as having been pushed into a wall (Watkins 1980). Burnt bone was reported in the primary fill of Shanzie souterrain, Alyth but was presumably unidentifiable (Coleman and Hunter 2002, 84).
Roman sites are also relatively free of direct evidence of animals. Secondary evidence can be seen, for example at Flavian Inchtuthil where a dog paw print is preserved in a tile, and through the horse trappings from Ardoch (McCormick and Buckland 1997, 102; Anderson 1898). While a few small bags of bone, reportedly from Carpow, exist in the collections of the McManus Galleries, Dundee, it is not certain whether these originated from the 1961–76 excavations.
The Crannog Centre may hold examples of faunal remains including animal droppings recovered from Loch Tay.
Roman sites such as Carpow may have produced overlooked faunal evidence.