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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Scottish dig unearths '10,000-year-old home' at Echline

18 November 2012

An artist's impression of the house site unearthed on the east coast of Scotland

The remains of what is believed to be one of Scotland's earliest homes have been uncovered during construction works for the new Forth crossing.

The site dates from the Mesolithic period, about 10,000 years ago.

Archaeological excavation works have been taking place in a field at Echline in South Queensferry in preparation for the Forth Replacement Crossing.

A large oval pit nearly 7m in length is all that remains of the dwelling, along with hearths, flint and arrowheads.
'First settlers'

Rod McCullagh, a senior archaeologist at Historic Scotland, said: "This discovery and, especially the information from the laboratory analyses adds valuable information to our understanding of a small but growing list of buildings erected by Scotland's first settlers after the last glaciation, 10,000 years ago.

"The radiocarbon dates that have been taken from this site show it to be the oldest of its type found in Scotland which adds to its significance."

The remains feature a number of postholes which would have held wooden posts to support the walls and roof, probably covered with turf.

Several internal fireplace hearths were also identified and more than 1,000 flint artefacts were found, including materials which would have been used as tools and arrowheads.

Other discoveries included large quantities of charred hazelnut shells, suggesting they were an important source of food for the occupants of the house.

Archaeologists believe the dwelling would have been occupied on a seasonal basis, probably during the winter months, rather than all year round. (...)

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