20 November 2012
Archaeologists working at Echnline have uncovered the remains of what is believed to be one of Scotland's oldest homes. ...
Archaeologists working at Echnline have uncovered the remains of what is believed to be one of Scotland's oldest homes. The discovery was made during working taking place during construction works for a new Forth crossing, with archaeologists excavating in a field at Echline.
The remains consisted of a large oval pit measuring 6.96 metres long by 0.55 metres deep with a number of postholes, represented by shadows on the ground. These would have held wooden posts which would have supported the walls and roof, which experts believe would have been covered with turf. The remains of several internal fireplace hearths were also identified.
More than 1,000 flint artefacts were found which included materials which would have been used as tools and arrowheads. Other discoveries included large quantities of charred hazelnut shells, indicating that nuts would have been an important source of food for the hunter-gatherer occupants of the house. All of the artefacts will be preserved.
The site bears similarities to other Mesolithic sites previously discovered along the Forth. Archaeologists believe the dwelling would have been occupied on a seasonal basis, probably during the winter months, rather than all year round.
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.
A rare type of site
Ed Bailey, project manager for Headland Archaeology, the company that carried out the excavation works, said: 'The discovery of this previously unknown and rare type of site has provided us with a unique opportunity to further develop our understanding of how early prehistoric people lived along the Forth.
'Specialist analysis of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence recovered in the field is ongoing. This will allow us to put the pieces together and build a detailed picture of Mesolithic lifestyle.'
Sign up now for our FREE e-newsletter for more news stories, sneak previews, exclusive content and special offers.