Mesolithic excavation recovers 1,200 stone tools in Deeside

10 November 2021
Over the past year, the fieldwalking has resulting in the recovery of over 1,200 stone tools
The organisers of a field walking group that recovered a large number of Mesolithic stone tools from a site by the Dee, have organised a long weekend of excavation at a known Mesolithic site from 11 to 14 November 2021.

The area was fieldwalked earlier this year, with 5.7 hectares walked over 3 days and 1,201 stone tools recovered. These included flint cores and blades, indicating that tools were made and used in the area 6-10,000 years ago. A broken mace-head was also found by an Aberdeen University student on his first outing with the group. The ovoid mace-head is Neolithic in date.

Mesolithic Deeside is a group of volunteers, students and professional archaeologists who have been researching the people living along the Dee from earliest times. On the ground the group of volunteers fieldwalks – walking across ploughed fields collecting flints sometimes in groups of around 30.

Map showing the scatter of stone tools found in 2021

Everyone is trained on the ground: what stones are important, and experienced fieldwalkers are paired with beginners. Each flint goes into a separate bag, with the location recorded with hand-held GPS which allows all the finds to be mapped. The fieldwork group works with archaeologists including Steering Group Member Caroline Wickham-Jones, a Mesolithic specialist.

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People can volunteer to help dig, come along and help with sorting finds or just visit and see what we volunteers have found. If digging please contact Ali Cameron on tel 07581 181057 or e-mail.  The site may be very muddy, so wear sensible shoes or wellies!

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The group also works with professional archaeologists and soil scientists at the Universities of Aberdeen, St Andrews and Stirling to look at the bigger picture – what the river was like 15,000 years ago and how people used it.

Publication launch

The work of members of Mesolithic Deeside has made some important discoveries relating to the earliest communities to live here, pushing back knowledge of the area to some 14,000 years ago. The results are detailed in a new book, freely available online at SAIR, to be launched at Crathes Hall on 13 November from 2pm. Everyone is welcome for a chance to hear about the work, see some of the finds, and meet those working on the test pitting.

The project has been funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Aberdeenshire Council (including Kincardine & Mearns and Marr Area committees) and small grants from Scotmid, Bread of Life (Torphins), Aboyne Highland Games and offers in kind such as Craigievar Marquee Hire. Other funders include: Aberdeenshire Archaeology Service, KGV Wind Turbine Panel, Lithic Society, Skinner Trust, Arnold Clark Community Fund, Live Life Aberdeenshire.