Little House in the Mountains? A small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

Graeme Warren, Shannon Fraser, Ann Clarke, Killian Driscoll, Wishart Mitchell, Gordon Noble, Danny Paterson, Rick Schulting, Richard Tipping, Annemieke Verbaas, Clare Wilson, Caroline Wickham-Jones

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Abstract

This paper describes a small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. Excavations at Caochanan Ruadha identified a small oval structure (c. 3 m×2.2 m) with a central fire setting, in an upland valley (c.540 m asl). The site was occupied at c. 8200 cal BP and demonstrates hunter-gatherer use of the uplands during a period of significant climatic deterioration. The interpretation of the structure is primarily based on the distribution of the lithic assemblage, as the heavily podsolised soils have left no trace of light structural features. The lithic assemblage is specialised, dominated by microlith fragments, and functional analysis has identified different uses of different areas inside the structure. The identification of small, specialised Mesolithic sites is unusual and this paper will discuss the evidence for the presence of the structure and its use, compare it to other Mesolithic structures in Britain and highlight some methodological implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-945
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume18
Early online date12 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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functional analysis
Mountains
Mesolithic
Scotland
interpretation
evidence
Lithic Assemblages
Uplands
Deterioration
Functional Analysis
Hunter-gatherers
Soil
Microliths
Excavation

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Little House in the Mountains? A small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. / Warren, Graeme; Fraser, Shannon; Clarke, Ann; Driscoll, Killian ; Mitchell, Wishart; Noble, Gordon; Paterson, Danny ; Schulting, Rick; Tipping, Richard; Verbaas, Annemieke; Wilson, Clare; Wickham-Jones, Caroline.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Vol. 18, 04.2018, p. 936-945.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Warren, G, Fraser, S, Clarke, A, Driscoll, K, Mitchell, W, Noble, G, Paterson, D, Schulting, R, Tipping, R, Verbaas, A, Wilson, C & Wickham-Jones, C 2018, 'Little House in the Mountains? A small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland', Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 18, pp. 936-945. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.11.021
Warren, Graeme ; Fraser, Shannon ; Clarke, Ann ; Driscoll, Killian ; Mitchell, Wishart ; Noble, Gordon ; Paterson, Danny ; Schulting, Rick ; Tipping, Richard ; Verbaas, Annemieke ; Wilson, Clare ; Wickham-Jones, Caroline. / Little House in the Mountains? A small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 2018 ; Vol. 18. pp. 936-945.
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abstract = "This paper describes a small Mesolithic structure from the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland. Excavations at Caochanan Ruadha identified a small oval structure (c. 3 m×2.2 m) with a central fire setting, in an upland valley (c.540 m asl). The site was occupied at c. 8200 cal BP and demonstrates hunter-gatherer use of the uplands during a period of significant climatic deterioration. The interpretation of the structure is primarily based on the distribution of the lithic assemblage, as the heavily podsolised soils have left no trace of light structural features. The lithic assemblage is specialised, dominated by microlith fragments, and functional analysis has identified different uses of different areas inside the structure. The identification of small, specialised Mesolithic sites is unusual and this paper will discuss the evidence for the presence of the structure and its use, compare it to other Mesolithic structures in Britain and highlight some methodological implications.",
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