Notes on the Lothagam Pillar Site

Chris Koch leaving the collared platform at Lothagam.


Chris Koch walking across the cobble collar that contains the main platform at Lothagam.

The platform is enclosed by a broad collar of coarse cobbles that are built up to a height of at least 30 cm., possibly covering the platform fill at its margin. The platform within the collar is gently mounded, being an average of 20 cm. or more higher in the center than at its margins.


The western margin of the collar.


Looking northwest over the western margin of the collar.

The collar is a broad ring of coarse basalt cobbles.


Tlhe northern margin of the collar

Looking northeast over the northern margin of the collar.

Notice how the edge of the collar is being tumbled downslope as this edge of the site is being eroded.


Weathering in the collar.

Close-up of the collar in its southwestern quadrant.

Note the two types of basalt. One exhibits desert varnish while the other is in an advanced stage of in situ weathering.

Pillar cluster on the central platform.

Left - Looking southwest at the main pillar group.

Below - Close-up of the main pillar group from the identical vantage.


Pillar cluster on the central platform.

Pillar cluster on the central platform.

Above - Looking east over the main pillar group. The pillars on the right of this photograph are the same ones that appear on the left of the previous photograph.

Looking west across the Pillar clusters.

Giant reclining pillar in collar terminus.

Above - Looking west. The main pillar group is at the left. The smaller pillar cluster and large fallen pillar are on the right, with Chris Koch in the background. The fine pavement between the ends of the collar is between the pillar clusters.


Left - Looking northwest. Giant fallen pillar in foreground with Chris Koch in the background. The pottery and human bone eroding from beneath the collar were near the green bush immediately behind the pilllar.


Bone and pottery exposed in eroded collar.

Close-up from the most eroded portion of the collar, near the large fallen pillar, exposing a rim sherd and some human bone. The sherd is decorated with imbricated stylus impressions and vertical burnished ripples. This suggests that some of the burials may extend under the collar and may not be confined to a central pit area as they are at Jarigole.


Small, fallen pillar.

Pillars flaked, used as cores.

Small, fallen pillar with pot sherds on top. These sherds were collected from an area around the pillar with a radius of about seven meters. In contrast, Jarigole has a much higher density of sherds and other artefacts on the surface.

The reason for this lies in the degree of secondary use of these sites. At Jarigole, there are secondary burials, some marked by surface cairns and others not; pillars have been pulled out and used in secondary structures such as cairns and cribs; white stones have been brought to the site and placed on cairns and around pillars; petroglyphs have been to some pillars; pillar fragments and cobbles have been used as cores. At Lothagam, only the last form of disturbance is present, as may be seen on the pillars pictured here.

At Jarigole, and probably at Lothagam, the repeated excavation of burial pits churned the center of the platform area, bringing a great deal of material to the surface. All but the most robust of this material, exposed during the original use of the site, was destroyed by mechanical weathering. Jarigole, with a lot of more recent disturbance, has material that has not been on the surface as long; hence, more of it survives.

Gravel of the main platform.

Close-up of the coarse "pavement" on the platform inside the collar.


Fine Pavement in possible entry to main platform.

Close-up of the fine "pavement" in the possible entrance area between the ends of the collar.