Mesolithic hearth found at supermarket site

Date:

Share post:

An early prehistoric hearth has been discovered on the planned construction site for a branch of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. 

The charcoal remains, excavated from the site in Nairn, a town in the Scottish Highlands, date back to the Mesolithic period (10,000 to 4000 BC). They are believed to have been a temporary travelling stop rather than a settlement, due to the absence of any further Mesolithic findings at the site. 

“An extremely large quantity of wood charcoal fragments was recovered from the hearth. The size of the fragments suggests either deliberate deposition or in-situ burning,” said Headland Archaeology, who carried out the excavation, in a  report. 

Archaeologists used carbon-dating of the charcoal to determine the age of the hearth. However, dating a site from this particular substance is problematic, due the potential time lag between the felling of the tree and the burning of the material, the report said. 

The excavation, commissioned by retailer J Sainsbury Plc, was carried out in advance of construction. The development is continuing as planned after no further excavation was deemed necessary. 

“Mesolithic sites do come up occasionally. The hearth was excavated and dated, and no secondary excavation was needed,” said Kirsty Cameron at the Highland Council Historic Environment Record (HER), which logs the discovery of all known historic and archaeological sites in the Highland Council area. 

At least 175 sites with a Mesolithic background are registered on HER’s online database. Activity during the Mesolithic period has already been discovered in the area after the identification of several small flint tools at Culbin Sands, on the Moray Firth coastline near Nairn. 

During the Mesolithic period, or Middle Stone Age, the Britain was populated by nomadic hunter-gatherers. It is believed they lived in family groups and travelled across land, and possibly waterways, in order to hunt and fish. 

Read the complete report here 

Author: Alice Baghdjian | Source: Reuters [July 19, 2011]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Egypt officially requests return of ancient Nefertiti bust

The Egyptian government on Monday said it has sent an official petition to German authorities asking for the...

New research indicates homosexuality prevalent in early Christian Rome

Dr Mark Masterson, from Victoria’s School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, has analysed communications of all...

A mammoth task: How do we decide which species to resurrect?

The resurrection of vanished species -- through cutting-edge technologies such as gene-editing -- should be targeted towards recently...

Bronze Age weapon fragments found in Wales

Archaeologists investigating a 2.5-kilogram hoard of sword blades, scabbards and knives found by a metal detectorist in January...

Autopsy performed on 12,400-year-old frozen Siberian puppy

Scientists revealed today that they have found the first-ever well preserved brain of a Pleistocene canid. Our exclusive...

Simulations of the vaporization of Earth-like planets aid search for super-Earths

In science fiction novels, evil overlords and hostile aliens often threaten to vaporize the Earth. At the beginning...

More on Ancient Hebrew inscription refers to lousy wine

A possible decryption of the oldest inscription ever found at an archaeological site in Jerusalem has interesting implications....

Brain development is guided by junk DNA that isn’t really junk

Specific DNA once dismissed as junk plays an important role in brain development and might be involved in...