Scotland's First Settlers

Karen Hardy , Caroline Wickham-Jones, 2007

Data copyright © Caroline Wickham-Jones unless otherwise stated


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Caroline Wickham-Jones
Cassie
St Ola
Orkney
KW15 1TP
England

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Map with location of principal sites

Introduction

Background

Scotland's First Settlers was set up in 1998 to provide a detailed study of the Mesolithic around the Inner Sound and Sound of Raasay, between Skye and the west coast of Scotland. The Inner Sound is a closely defined area and the project was designed on a small scale regional basis. Given the importance of the sea in the Mesolithic, both as a resource and for transport, SFS was conceived and organised as a seascape project. This means that work was targeted around the varied coastline and many islands. In the event, boats played an important role, even for the 21st century archaeologists, but more importantly the focus of the project was implicitly that from the sea as opposed to the more conventional land-based approaches of previous work.

Aims

The project was designed to concentrate on issues of local mobility, resource exploitation, and climate in the early Holocene. The aim was to shed light both on the initial incursions of people into the area and on the transition to farming.

Objectives

The overall objectives of the project were as follows:

  1. To conduct survey in order to identify additional midden sites, to record rockshelters and caves, and to identify any other traces of Mesolithic activity
  2. To conduct a series of small scale soundings on a number of midden sites to obtain material for dating in order to determine their broad chronological affinities and to assess preservation
  3. To undertake excavations on suitable middens to obtain information regarding their composition, complexity, and chronological phasing. Excavation was planned to focus on sites under threat, and the extent of excavation was carefully controlled to avoid the collection of unmanageable quantities of material
  4. To recover and analyse environmental data and to look for evidence of environmental change through time within the middens
  5. To examine the areas around the middens for evidence of associated Mesolithic settlement or other activity
  6. To obtain management information regarding the sites, regarding both their archaeological value and their long-term stability
  7. To undertake post-excavation analysis to establish dates, economic data and cultural information
  8. To provide a show case project for wider public consumption, both at the level of community council and local involvement, and at the level of national interest

References

Karen Hardy & CR Wickham-Jones (eds), forthcoming, Mesolithic and later sites around the Inner Sound, Scotland: the work of the Scotland's First Settlers project 1998 - 2004, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report.

Finlayson B, Hardy K, & Birch S, Wickham-Jones CR, Wildgoose M 1999; Crowlin Islands, Eilean Mor, Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1998, Edinburgh: Council for Scottish Archaeology, 46.

Finlayson B, Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR, 1999, Scotland's First Settlers: Data Structure Report. Edinburgh: Centre for Field Archaeology.

Finlayson B, Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2000, Inner Sound, Survey and trial excavation, Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 1999, Edinburgh: Council for Scottish Archaeology, 49 - 50.

Finlayson B, Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR, forthcoming, Scotland's First Settlers: Work on the early settlement of the Inner Sound of Skye, Scotland, Mesolithic Miscellany, forthcoming.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR, 2000, Scotland's First Settlers: Data Structure Report. Edinburgh: Centre for Field Archaeology.

Hardy K & Wickham-Jones CR, 2001, Inner Sound: Survey and Excavation. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2000, New Series, Volume 1. The Journal of the Council for Scottish Archaeology, Edinburgh. 44 - 5.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2001, Scotland's First Settlers: Data Structure Report. University of Edinburgh: Department of Archaeology.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2001, Scotland's First Settlers, a project to investigate the earliest settlement of west coast Scotland, History Scotland, 1, 22-7.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2002a, Inner Sound: Survey and Excavation. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2001. New Series volume 2. The Journal of the Council for Scottish Archaeology, Edinburgh. 61 - 2.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2002b, Scotland's First Settlers: the Mesolithic Seascape of the Inner Sound, Skye and its contribution to the early prehistory of Scotland. Antiquity 2002, 825-33.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2002c. Inner Sound: Rona, Loch Torridon & Loch Carron: survey and test pitting. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 2002. New Series volume 3. The Journal of the Council for Scottish Archaeology, Edinburgh. 60 - 1.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2002d, Scotland's First Settlers: Data Structure Report 2002, University of Edinburgh: Department of Archaeology.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2003. Scotland's First Settlers: An Investigation into Settlement, territoriality and mobility during the Mesolithic in the Inner Sound, Scotland, in L. Larsson, H. Kindgren, A. �kerlund, K. Kuntsson K. and D. Loeffler. Mesolithic on the Move: Proceedings of the Meso 2000 conference, Oxford: Oxbow Books 369-84.

Hardy K, & Wickham-Jones CR 2004. Scotland's First Settlers. The study of an archaeological seascape. In Carver E & Lelong O (eds), Modern Views - Ancient Lands: New Work and Thought on Cultural Landscapes. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports British Series 377, 51-64.

Contributors

Patrick Ashmore, Historic Scotland
Phil Austin, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
James Barrett, Department of Archaeology, University of York
Steven Birch, Sealladh Alainn
Stuart Campbell, Department of Archaeology, The University of Manchester
Ann Clarke
Mike Cressey, CFA Archaeology Ltd
Alastair Dawson, Aberdeen Institute of Coastal Science & Management
Sue Dawson, School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews
Kevin Edwards, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Aberdeen
Nyree Finlay, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow
Fraser Green
Andrew Heald, National Museum of Scotland
Fraser Hunter, National Museum of Scotland
Arlene Isbister
Ann MacSween
Lorna McAllan, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow
Nicky Milner, Department of Archaeology, University of York
Jacqui Mulville, HISAR, Cardiff University
Anthony Newton, Institute of Geography, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
Rachel Parks, Department of Archaeology, University of York
Rick Schulting, School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University, Belfast
Robert Shiel, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Andrew Stewart, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

This work was carried out with support from the following funders and sponsors:

Applecross Estate Trust, The Arts and Humanities Research Board, The British Academy, Centre for Field Archaeology, Historic Scotland, Leader II, Lejre Experimental Centre, The Munro Fund, University of Edinburgh, The Percy Hedley Charitable Trust, The Prehistoric Society, Private donations, Ross and Cromarty Enterprise, The Russell Trust, Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise, Skye Local Enterprise, Society of Antiquaries of London, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, University of Aberdeen, The Queen's University of Belfast, Cardiff University, University College London, Coventry University, University of Edinburgh, University of Newcastle, University of York