MHG52892 - Lithic scatter - Clachan Harbour


A scatter of early Mesolithic stone tools identified during trial trenching both within and below the peat at Clachan Harbour.

Type and Period (2)

  • LITHIC SCATTER (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • LAYER (Accumulated, Mesolithic - 7550 BC to 6250 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A scatter of worked stone tools was identified during palaeoenvironmental investigations and trial trenching by CFA Archaeology Ltd in early 2007. The tools lay within and beneath the peat, suggesting that the site is of early Mesolithic origin. A total of 34 small finds were recovered during the excavation, the majority of which consisted of lithics, most notably flakes and blades with one possible scraper. One water-worn pebble was collected with possible evidence for use as a hammerstone. The majority of the lithics were of local mudstone, similar to assemblages found on other sites in the area. There was no particular pattern to the artefacts within the peat, but those from beneath the peat were concentrated in a small area. No other archaeological features were found suggesting that the site was used solely for stone tool knapping. It is probable that more stone tools and associated features survive beyond the limits of the small excavation area. <1>

The results of radiocarbon dating and diatom analysis indicate that intertidal woody peat in south west Raasay began to accumulate during the early Holocene at around 9500 BP at which time relative sea level fell close to 0m OD or slightly lower. Birch woodland continued to develop at the site and was probably in existence for c.1200 years. Peat continued to accumulate until some after c.8200 BP. After this date the woodland was inundated and then submerged by a rise in sea level that reached at least c.7.6m OD. An assessment of cores in the vicinity of the site provided an assessment of sea level change. This information suggests that woodland conditions existed at the site for c.1200 years, and marine waters inundated the woodland some time after 8320 BP, in accordance with the phasing previously suggested. <2>

Initial analysis of the lithic assemblage, consisting of 27 worked pieces, indicated that they are of Mesolithic date. One of the lithics is of baked mudstone, the remaining 26 are Skye tuff. This is the first Scottish lithic assemblage that has been demonstrated to have been manufactured from Syke Tuff. <3>

The lithic assemblage from the excavation was submitted to Treasure Trove (TT 51/12) and allocated to the NMS. <4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NG 54456 36444 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG53NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish PORTREE

Finds (9)

  • FLAKE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • END SCRAPER? (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • HAMMERSTONE? (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • PEAT (Mesolithic - 7550 BC to 6250 BC)
  • DIATOMS (Undated)
  • POLLEN (Undated)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Undated) + Sci.Date

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (5)

External Links (2)

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