Publication details for Professor Mike ChurchGregory, R A, Murphy, E M, Church, M J, Edwards, K J, Guttmann, E B & Simpson, D D A (2005). Archaeological evidence for the first Mesolithic occupation of the Western Isles of Scotland. The Holocene 15(7): 944-950.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: ISSN 0959-6836 (hard copy), ISSN 1477-0911 (online)
- DOI: 10.1191/0959683605hl868ft
- Keywords: Western Isles, Scotland, Mesolithic, Neolithic, middens, pedological analysis, Holocene
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
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.