East Lothian has a wealth of archaeological and historical remains spanning from the early prehistoric period through to, and including, Second World War structures. In 2002, the oldest hunter-gatherer house in Scotland was discovered close to Dunbar in advance of quarrying. Excavations have revealed that it dated to approx 8300 BC, making it not only one of the earliest sites in Scotland but the oldest house ever known in the country.
Although the county is well known for the large number of archaeological crop mark sites, particularly for the prehistoric period, there are plenty of upstanding remains also to be seen.
Traprain Law and North Berwick Law, two large hills which dominate the lower plains of the county, are just two of a large number of fantastic hill forts that can be explored in East Lothian. There are also a huge number of churches across the area, many of which date back to the Medieval period. Together with place name evidence, historical literature and recent discoveries over the last five years, these churches testify to East Lothianís pivotal role in early medieval Christianity in Scotland.
East Lothian can also boast a number of fantastic medieval castles and tower houses. Tantallon Castle is located in a very dramatic location overlooking the cliffs and Bass Rock, whilst Hailes Castle can be found nestling by the side of the River Tyne, overlooked by Traprain Law. Some of the most important battle sites in Scotland can also be found in East Lothian and they survive remarkably intact.
The county also has an extremely important agricultural and industrial past. East Lothian is home to some outstanding examples of agricultural steadings, many of which have now been converted into residential homes. Reminders of the countyís industrial past can still be seen in the mills, lime kilns and industrial workings.
To find out more about which archaeological and historical sites to visit during your stay in East Lothian, click on the sites on the left hand side of this page. You can also download our Heritage Explorer 1 and Heritage Explorer 2 leaflets which describe many more sites you can explore plus a handy map of the county. More information about sites to visit and explore can be found by visiting Historic Scotland www.historic-scotland.gov.uk and National Trust for Scotland www.nts.org.uk