Earliest site in Scotland discovered

April 2009

Flint upper paleolithic tool

A Tanged point. Photograph by Alan Saville

Unexpected and unique Upper Paleolithic finds recently discovered at Howburn Farm identifies this site as being the earliest in Scotland.

These finds have now been notified in The Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 28: 41 – 49.

The find is now considered so important in terms of the early settlement of Scotland that we are considering more work at the site beginning in May 2009. Originally found by field walking and then by excavation the flint assemblage is part of a larger multi period scatter of lithic and pottery over a discreet area of a field near Melbourne crossroads.

The field has produced a range of lithics spanning all pre-historic periods with chert and flint tools and debitage, also a few sherds of Early Neolithic pottery. However, the most surprising aspect of the collection is a significant quantity of Upper Palaeolithic flint tools and flakes, making this a unique site for Scotland. Tentative dating puts the site at c14,000 years ago immediately after the Main Ice Age and before the Loch Lomond Re-advance.

We are calling for voluntary diggers to work on this site, experienced and non experienced people will be welcome, and this will be a unique opportunity to excavate such a rare site in Britain.

We know that further finds are guaranteed since we shall be excavating the area of the surface scatter. Register your interest on our Contact Us page and come and dig the dream of finding the earliest people in Scotland.

This site is part of the Pre-history North of Biggar Project.

Excavation Updates

Monday 27th July – Final Update

Monday 20th July – Penultimate weeks excavation

Monday 13th July – Final few weeks

Sunday 28th June – Further 3 tanged points discovered

Thanks to Contraflow Traffic Management

Sunday 7th June – First 100 meters completed

Saturday 17th May – Weekend number three, several Paleo tools found

Saturday 2nd May – A great turnout for the Howburn Excavation