Scotland’s earliest people, their landscape and houses | Alan Saville Memorial Conference 17-Jun-2017

◊ Dear Microburins,

There are still places available for this conference in Edinburgh, Saturday 17 June 2017, free entry. Hope to see you there!

Spence | FSA Scot

Mesolithic Deeside, Aberdeenshire | 30-Sep – 01-Oct 2016

◊ Dear Microburins

2016_DeessideI’m hoping to attend this event — hopefully see some of you there? More info »

Horsemill, Crathes Castle AB31 5QJ | 30 September – 01 October 2016

  • 30 September 7pm Caroline Wickham-Jones – talk: Mesolithic Deeside
  • Saturday 1 October 11am Shannon Fraser – talk: Crathes Castle Mesolithic pit alignment
    1pm and 3pm Heather Sabnis – talk: Discovering Mesolithic Crathes
  • All day – Flint sessions – handle flints from the Mesolithic Deeside sites and talk to archaeologists, plus events for children
    Outdoor events by Brian Wilkinson 10am-4pm

Useful links


Mesolithic Videos | Cramond, Edinburgh in the Mesolithic: 5min video

Cramond◊ Cramond in the Mesolithic era | Open Virtual Worlds in association with the Cramond Association and Cramond Heritage Trust | 11-Apr-2016 (Oct-2015 Vimeo) 5min

Val Dean talks about Cramond (near Edinburgh) in the Mesolithic era (c.10,000 – 4500 BC), exploring what life was like for the population at this time; what people ate, how they lived, the tools they used and what traces remain for archaeologists to explore.


Mesolithic Calendar in Scotland? | UK Sites and Finds update

Microburin’s UK Mesolithic Sites & Finds page has been updated with:

Scotland | Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire | Excavations by Birmingham University at Warren Field (crop marks) found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months. Lots of media coverage! What do you make of it?

Review the BBC News article and access an academic article in Internet Archaeology (IA paywall fee of £7.50 for the article, BBC free) →

And a good video by Vince Gaffney today (15-Jul, free) »


Orkneyjar | Excellent Orkney website with Mesolithic coverage

Keywords | Mesolithic, Epipalaeolithic, Ahrensburgian, Younger Dryas, Orkney, Scotland, Britain, Viking-Bergen

Scapaflow8kbcOrkney is perhaps better known for its spectacular Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Viking archaeology, with clear evidence for long-distance contact and seafaring from earliest times. However, there are more than hints that the islands were occupied in the Mesolithic period, 9000–4000 BC if not earlier, when sea levels were as much as 30m lower than today.

◊ Orkneyjar is an excellent heritage and archaeological news aggregation website, well worth a visit. News items are categorised by period such as Mesolithic »

HazelnutsDiscoveries through the noughties have included hazelnut shells dated to 6820–6660 Cal BC and diagnostic flints buried below Bronze Age and Neolithic monuments.

There’s even earlier and extremely exciting evidence too:

“The discovery of two tiny flint arrowheads in Stronsay could represent the earliest evidence of human activity found in Orkney – if not Scotland – to date.

Stronsay_flintsNaomi Woodward, of Orkney College, found the tanged points – thought to have been used between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago – in a flint scatter collected during the Stronsay Archaeological Survey in April 2007. Flint experts Caroline Wickham-Jones and Torbin Ballin subsequently identified them as very early forms of prehistoric arrowheads – a type derived from a classification known as Ahrensburgian, found across the plains of north-western Europe.”

Epipalaeolithic – Ahrensburgian

These finds, plus a few others across the western Scottish mainland and Hebridian islands, push evidence for hunter-gatherer activity back to before the arctic conditions of the Loch Lomond Stadial, around 9000 BC (equivalent to the Younger Dryas of north-western Europe). Prior to this re-chilling—at around 11,000 BC—temperatures had improved after the last glaciation to be similar to those of today. Finds of a similar date (11,000–10,500 BC) have been dredged from the North Sea (Viking-Bergen) between Shetland and Norway, showing that there was occupation quite a considerable distance north at this time.

◊ Timothy Darvill’s book Prehistoric Britain has a good summary of known evidence and toolkits | Google books preview »