Yesterday's barbed and tanged arrowhead appears to have a heralded a change in the distribution of finds. As we move west and the land gradually rises above the prehistoric sea level, we begin to see clusters of artefacts which are more typical of this area of north-eastern Scotland. This does not appear to represent concentrated settlements, but rather more temporary visits to places in the landscape over extended periods of time.
Fieldwalking near the present day shoreline of Loch Fleet. The sloping ground in the foreground reveals approximately where the land emerged from the tidal zone in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Corresponding with this we find a scatter of stone artefacts overlooking the former estuary. (Photo: Aaron Watson)
A short film showing the expanse of ploughed land overlooking Loch Fleet. The little flags mark finds which are then recorded to a precise grid reference using GPS (satellite-based mapping). (Video: Aaron Watson)
Many thanks to Pat Scott and Dorothy Low for help with the project, the local farmers for their support, and to the Coffee Bothy café in Golspie for their hospitality and hot drinks.
The fieldwalking project at Loch Fleet is a collaboration between Richard Bradley, Aaron Watson, Ronnie Scott and Annette Jack. It is part of a wider investigation into the role of marine transportation in the Neolithic and Bronze Age of Britain and Ireland. The Sutherland project develops upon a survey focused upon the Culbin Sands, near Findhorn, in 2014. For more details please see:
Maritime Havens in Earlier Prehistoric Britain, by Richard Bradley, Alice Rogers, Fraser Sturt, Aaron Watson, Diana Coles, Julie Gardiner and Ronnie Scott. 2016. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 82, 1-35.
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The Earlier Prehistoric Collections from the Culbin Sands, Northern Scotland: the Construction of a Narrative, by Richard Bradley, Aaron Watson and Ronnie Scott. 2016. In Ancient Lives: Object, people and place in early Scotland. Essays for David V Clarke on his 70th birthday, edited by Fraser Hunter and Alison Sheridan. Leiden: Sidestone Press, 233-43.
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