| 1 October 2005
Unearthing secrets of the earliest Scottish settlers
Archaeologists are hoping to unearth secrets that some of Scotland's earliest settlers are still keeping during a weeklong excavation in the northeast.
A Mesolithic site, dating as far back as 8,000 BCE, was uncovered on the outskirts of Kintore in October of last year. Murray Cook, who is leading the excavation, now plans to return to the site this weekend to try to piece together the history of the area. Mr. Cook, of Edinburgh-based AOC Archaeology, which recently opened an office in Aberdeen, said: "We are looking at the earliest settlement in Aberdeenshire, if not Scotland. The whole of the Kintore landscape is of national significance. There are only three or four Mesolithic sites identified in Aberdeenshire."
Archaeologists hope to unearth the remains of a hunting camp which would include flint tools, used by the early settlers. During the excavation, supported by funds from the Catherine Mac Kichan Trust, they also hope to uncover round houses and metal works from descendant farm enclosures, which are thought to date back to 500 BCE.
Mr. Cook, who has been visiting the area since 2000, said: "It is very exciting. This excavation is among the largest and most significant ever undertaken in Aberdeenshire and certainly in Scotland as well. It is a very impressive and very significant landscape."
Kintore has already revealed historically valuable finds, including Roman bread ovens, a timber circle thought to date back to 6,000 BCE, and evidence of a roundhouse. Following the latest excavation, experts plan to publish the first of two technical monographs early next year, followed by another book of popular accounts of their findings.
Any members of the public who would like to become involved in the Kintore landscape project can contact Mr. Cook at telephone 0131 4403593.
Source: The Press and Journal (27 September 2005)
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