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30 March 2004
Mesolithic flints found on Cairngorms

More than 80 pieces of worked flint and quartz prove that early settlers travelled through the Cairngorm landscape 7,000 years ago, according to archaeologists. The find, in Glen Dee near Braemar (Scotland), was made by chance during conservation work on footpaths. Experts believe that this is the first find from such an early date in the high mountain massif.
     Most knowledge of the Mesolithic has so far come from coastal sites. National Trust archaeologist Dr. Shannon Frazer said: “We suspected that major route ways through the Cairngorms, such as the Lairig Ghru, may have been used by the earliest settlers as they moved through the landscape in seasonal cycles, fishing, hunting and collecting other foods and useful materials. But without any physical evidence for these people, we just couldn’t prove it. What is so exciting is that these tiny fragments of worked stone, some only a few millimetres long, suggest that these groups of people may have been very familiar what even today are considered challenging highland landscapes.”
     A further study funded by Aberdeenshire Council has shown that tools were both made and used on the site, which yielded broken tools and the waste flint flakes produced during manufacture. Caroline Wickham-Jones, a consultant archaeologist and specialist in Mesolithic Scotland, said: “This is a very important find because it helps fill in one of the most glaring gaps in our knowledge of the early settlement of Scotland: what was going on in the interior of the country.”

Source: BBC News (30 March 2004)

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