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Archaeological evidence for the first Mesolithic occupation of the Western Isles of Scotland.

Gregory, R. A. and Murphy, E. M. and Church, M. J. and Edwards, K. J. and Guttmann, E. B. and Simpson, D. D. A. (2005) 'Archaeological evidence for the first Mesolithic occupation of the Western Isles of Scotland.', The Holocene., 15 (7). pp. 944-950.


The examination of eroding coastal dunes at the prehistoric site of Northton, Harris, has produced the first archaeological evidence of Mesolithic activity in the Western Isles in the form of two midden-related deposits. The first phase of Mesolithic activity is dated to 7060/6650 cal. BC based on AMS dating of charred hazelnut shells. This discovery appears to validate the frequent pollen-based inferences of Mesolithic impact for the area and, as predicted, allows the Atlantic fringe of Scotland to become part of the European Mesolithic mainstream. A detailed pedological analysis also suggests that these early midden layers may have been amended during the Neolithic period as part of a possible phase of cultivation.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Western Isles, Scotland, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Middens, Pedological analysis, Holocene.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:November 2005
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