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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

Bishop, R R, Church, M J & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2014). Seeds, fruits and nuts in the Scottish Mesolithic. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 143: 9-72.

Author(s) from Durham


Over the past few decades, the potential importance of plants within European Mesolithic
economies has frequently been discussed, but there has been little systematic consideration of the
archaeobotanical evidence for Mesolithic plant consumption in Scotland. This paper assesses the
use of plants in the Scottish Mesolithic economy using the archaeobotanical evidence from 48 sites.
It is argued that plants were systematically, and, in some cases, intensively exploited in Mesolithic
Scotland. Though plant remains were extremely sparse at most sites, it is suggested that uneven
archaeological sampling and taphonomic factors, together with the relatively short duration of
occupation of many sites, may be responsible for the restricted range and frequency of edible taxa
in most assemblages.