|23 November 2009
Hunters' remains earliest known in Scotland
Scotland's foremost amateur archaeologist, Tam Ward of Biggar Archaeology Group, was guest speaker at the November meeting of Lanark and District Archaeological Society. The subject of Tam's talk was about the excavation work at Howburn Farm, near Elsrickle, which turned out to be one of the most important digs in Scotland this year.
Tam related how the site had been discovered through diligent field walking. Initially, Tam thought the site was early Neolithic but a talk with an expert in prehistory revealed the amazing fact that some of the tools that Tam and his team had discovered were about 16,000 years old (later Paleolithic). This was quite a revelation as nothing this early had ever been found in Scotland. What was also staggering was the fact that the people who came to Howburn actually walked across the area known now as the North Sea. The route would have been via the Dogger Bank which is the only bit left of the land route from Northern Europe. About 9000 years ago this route became flooded with the melting of the glaciers and the collapse of the Norwegian Trench which led to a devastating tsunami affecting Northern Europe.
Tools fashioned by the people of the palaeolithic period in Scotland were similar to those produced in Denmark, Northern Germany and Holland. They came to Scotland chasing the herds of migrating reindeer and living off their meat and utilising their hides for clothing. No reindeer remains were found was due to the high acidity of the Scottish soil.
Source: Hamilton Advertiser (19 November 2009)
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