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31 December 2014
Ancient farm community unearthed in Scotland

Remains of one of Scotland's oldest farming communities have been unearthed by diggers working on a tram line near Edinburgh Airport. The site is on a narrow ridge about 100 metres long, above the flood plain of the River Almond. Among the items discovered are flints from the Neolithic period, small blades of Arran pitchstone, and small quantities of pottery from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. Analysis of finds provides the most complete picture yet of the city's early settlement stretching back to almost 4,000 BCE - evidence of up to six phases of occupation.
     Edinburgh City Council archaeology officer John Lawson says: "The excavations at Gogar have given us an important snapshot of how Edinburgh grew as it has given evidence from a wide range of periods, from early prehistoric Mesolithic hunter-gathering communities through to the medieval period. Possibly the earliest evidence was pits containing hazelnut shells, which may be from Mesolithic hunter-gathers. These were found alongside a range of pits and post-holes dating from around the start of the Neolithic period in Scotland around 3,960 BCE, making it Edinburgh's - and one of Scotland's - first farming communities. There then appears to be a large gap in occupation until the construction of a series of hut-circles around 2,200 to 2,000 BCE during the Early Bronze Age, then a 400-year gap to around 1,600-1,200 BCE. The largest site was a palisaded enclosure roughly 35 metres in diameter, dated to 700 to 540 BCE - the start of the Iron Age in that region. "

Edited from The Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News (28 December 2014)

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