Searching for the Ice Age Pioneers: Isle of Islay, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland lecture

21 July 2021
Professor Steven Mithen FSAScot presents an online lecture on 11 October 2021, focusing on his work at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

The Society of Antiquaries of London and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland have announces a joint online lecture for this autumn: Searching for the ice age pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

Located on a small terrace on the east coast of the Hebridean island of Islay, excavations at Rubha Port-ant-Seilich (RPAS) are providing new insights into the earliest stages of British prehistory. Excavations began after foraging pigs exposed flint artefacts and have now exposed one of the most favoured places utilised by Mesolithic foragers in Scotland. They repeatedly returned to make camp on the terrace between 9200 and 6000 years ago, the site providing a gateway to the Hebridean archipelago with its diverse range of hunting, gathering, and fishing opportunities.

QUICK LINK: History Scotland autumn lecture programme 

The Mesolithic foragers may, however, have been following in the footsteps of ice age pioneers. Amidst the Mesolithic stone artefacts is a tanged point diagnostic of the Ahrensburgian culture that dates to the end of the ice age, along with debris from a style of tool making quite different from that of the Mesolithic. These finds suggest an ice age Ahrensburgian campsite might remain in place below the Mesolithic deposits, which would be the first for Scotland.  This lecture describes the discoveries and on-going excavations at RPAS, and considers their implications for the earliest prehistory of the far NW of Europe.

How to join

Registration is essential and the event is open to everyone. Tickets are on a first-come, first served basis. Once you've registered, the Society will be in touch regarding how you can join via Zoom video-call.


Starts 6pm UK time on 11 October 2021. 

The event will also be live-streamed to YouTube here, so you can watch along if you prefer.

Please consider helping the Society to continue to deliver its FREE online Lecture Programme by making a donation to cover the cost of upgraded IT and software.