Online talk: Searching for the Ice Age Pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland
11 October 2021, Starts: 18:00, Ends: 19:00
Searching for the Ice Age Pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland
Online tak by Professor Steven Mithen, organised by The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries of London. Details and booking information from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland website.
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.
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.