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Excavations at Northton, Western Isles of Scotland, 2010 ; data structure report.

Bishop, R. R. and Church, M. J. and Rowley-Conwy, P. A. (2011) 'Excavations at Northton, Western Isles of Scotland, 2010 ; data structure report.', Technical Report. Department of Archaeology, Durham University.


A Mesolithic human presence in the Outer Hebrides has long been postulated by palynologists but archaeological evidence for this period has, until recently, eluded discovery by archaeologists. The discovery of the first radiocarbon-dated Mesolithic deposits in the Western Isles at Northton, Harris in 2001 was therefore of considerable international research significance. Unfortunately, the site is rapidly being destroyed by coastal erosion. Consequently, a small-scale excavation of the Mesolithic horizon was undertaken in 2010 to establish the nature of the deposits and to undertake detailed environmental sampling before the site is destroyed. The excavated area of the Mesolithic deposit was 100% sampled and flotation for plant and animal remains was undertaken. No archaeological features were detected, but a sizeable assemblage of Mesolithic lithics, charcoal, carbonised plant macrofossils and fish bones was uncovered. It is proposed that this layer is a buried land surface that incorporates a palimpsest of disturbed and bioturbated hearth deposits containing fuel remnants and food waste.

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Full text:(NA) Not Applicable
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Date accepted:No date available
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Date of first online publication:2011
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