MHG53627 - Mesolithic lithics site - Barr River North, Morvern


A Mesolithic lithics site located on the east facing slopes of Tom na Eildean.

Type and Period (2)

  • LITHIC SCATTER (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • LITHIC SCATTER (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

During mounding for broadleaf planting in 2010, a sizeable assemblage of chipped stone artefacts were recovered. Initial exploration by Forestry Comission staff, and subsequent recovery from a wider area by Pete Madden, recovered 150 pieces of flint. These flints were found in conjunction with charcoal rich deposits. The assemblage was subject to initial evaluation by Dr Nyree Finlay, University of Glasgow. The quality and condition of the material, including a microlith, associated manufacturing debris, such as quartz shatter, and several other retouched pieces indicates the probable presence of an in situ Mesolithic site at this location. Bronze Age activity is also evident as indicated by the recovery of an isolated barbed and tanged arrowhead from the vicinity. At least six raw materials were noted in the assemblage: flint, mudstone, chalcedony and two other, as yet unidentified, materials. The general impression is that the flint-working is very competent in character and well executed. Owing to the regional, and national, importance of the assemblage, further evaluation work is proposed on this site. A key aim of this work is the recovery of datable material, possibly from the charcoal rich deposits already identified. <1> <2>

An archaeological evaluation by test pitting was subsequently carried out by GUARD in October 2010. This sought to better understand the extent and character of the Mesolithic and later prehistoric lithic scatter and in order to inform land management plans. Evaluation methods included surface collection of lithic artefacts, including quartz, from all exposed mounds on the terrace, hand excavation of ten c.1m² testpits across the terrace and excavation of two hand-dug trenches to evaluate the extent and preservation of in-situ deposits and investigate the impacts of mounding and earlier site operations on any artefacts and deposits present. <3>

The 2010 evaluation was later formally published in 2019. Following detailed analysis, the lithic assemblage was found to be predominantly debitage with some microliths and scrapers. The range of raw materials including flint, Rùm bloodstone and baked mudstone highlighted wider regional networks. Other elements, including a barbed and tanged arrowhead, belong to later depositional episodes. Two mid-second millennium bc radiocarbon dates were obtained from soil associated with some lithics recovered from a mixed soil beneath colluvial deposits. The chronology of a putative stone bank or revetment is uncertain but the arrangement of stone may also date to the second millennium bc. The overall impression is of an extensive
background lithic scatter in which several discrete phases of Mesolithic and later activity are represented. The closest Mesolithic site is that of Barr River (see MHG489). It is clear that here the artefacts were present in hill wash, and some clearly derived from further upslope and in rather rolled condition. The test excavations did not recover in-situ remains. <4>

Sources/Archives (4)



Grid reference Centred NM 6140 5710 (60m by 60m)
Map sheet NM65NW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish MORVERN

Finds (6)

  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 8000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • DEBITAGE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • CORE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC? to 4001 BC?)
  • FLAKE (Mesolithic - 8000 BC? to 4001 BC?)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (2)

External Links (1)

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