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Friday, April 10, 2009

Magdalenian artifacts found in Scotland

Flint tools have been discovered near Biggar,
South Lanarkshire, Scotland. They are very similar to the ones used in the Netherlands and Northern Germany c. 14-12,000 years ago, in the Magdalenian period. This suggests that their users could have originated in that area and crossed through what is now the North Sea, then above sea level (Doggerland).

If the datation could be confirmed, it would mean pushing back the earliest known inhabitation of Scotland by humans more than 3000 years. Before this finding the oldest known human settlements in the country were dated to c. 8500 BP, in the Epipaleolithic period.

Source: BBC.


Tim Jones said...

I think this find is in a similar context to the discovery of arrowheads on Stronsay, Orkney, back in 2007 - here's the link to the earlier story...

Maju said...

Thanks for that relevant link, Tim.

I understand that the finding of Biggar means still true Magdalenian, even if the "M word" is not mentioned anywhere specifically, because the parallel dated cultural context of Northern Germany is of 14-12,000 BP, precisely the age of Magdalenian arrival to the area. Instead the Stronsay findings are from 12-10,000 BP and that "subtle" time difference means we are already in the Epipaleolithic (or Mesolithic if you wish), when the "regionalist" trends found already in late Magdalenian culminated in a series of regional cultures like Ahrensburgian-Ertebölle, Sauveterre-Tardenoisian and Azilian.

So they really seem to belong to two different, albeit succesive (in concept as in time) cultures. They do seem to mean anyhow that humans were settling Scotland almost as fast as the ice shield retreated, and both also apparently mean a Northern European connection (probably origins) for early Scots.

In a broad view this probably means that the traits, genetics or pehnotypic, that we see in Scotland nowadays (save maybe some founder effect of the kind of hyperaboundant red hair) reflect to a great extent how Northern Europeans in general were before the Neolithic and Indoeuropean migrations.