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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 05:36 GMT 06:36 UK
Dig set to begin at historic site
Traprain Law
The area's Bronze Age inhabitants had contact with Roman visitors
Excavations are set to begin at what experts have described as one of the most important archaeological sites in Scotland.

They are trying to discover exactly how much damage was done by a major fire at the site last year.

The dig is taking place on Traprain Law, a hill near East Linton in East Lothian.

The area is noted as having been a major population centre in the late Bronze Age, 3,000 years ago.

In 2003, a fire started by a discarded cigarette end burned through grass and vegetation, damaging some historical remains and exposing others to potential erosion.

It left an unstable mixture of soil, mud and ash.

Investigators are now examining the worst affected areas hoping to carry out rescue and rehabilitation work.

Among the early finds in the current operation have been parts of a mediaeval building, as well as ancient tools, pottery and beads.

In the period AD 80 to 400 Traprain Law's inhabitants had regular contacts with Roman visitors.

A huge hoard of Roman silver items was found on the hill in 1919.

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