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Early Norsemen in Scotland

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  • windsingersmoon <asa.wood@excite.com>
    Norse code taps back 9000 years to life in Highlands MARTYN McLAUGHLIN ARCHEOLOGISTS have discovered the remains of a 9000-year-old community that shows
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2002
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      Norse code taps back 9000 years to life in Highlands
      MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
      ARCHEOLOGISTS have discovered the remains of a 9000-year-old
      community that shows Scotland's earliest settlers may have been of
      Nordic origins.

      The site, halfway up the 4000ft Ben Lawers in Perthshire, has
      uncovered a range of flints and tools almost identical to those
      originally created in Norway. However, it came as a surprise.

      Dr John Atkinson, of Glasgow University, was leading a five-year
      project to excavate the area and was working on another site at the
      time.

      "We were looking at structures relating to the 1570s when we dug a
      bit deeper and stumbled upon the site," he said.

      "It is the earliest inland site and certainly the first highland
      settlement to have been found in Scotland."

      He believes the discovery shows settlers were living on the mountain
      range some 10,000 years ago after the glaciers receded. More than
      9000 pieces of material have been found, and the head of Glasgow
      University's archeological research division believes historians will
      be forced to reconsider what was previously taken for granted.

      "We found flints, blades and lots of quartz debris from where they
      had obviously tried to repair their tools," said Dr Atkinson.

      "We believe they came inland from the coast - which was the only
      place they could have found the flint - to hunt deer through the
      valley. The similarities between their tools with those found in
      Norway is very exciting."

      The comparisons point to the theory that Scots fled east to Norway at
      the onset of the ice age, but came back in surges to repopulate the
      country once the glaciers had melted.

      Archeologists have only discovered scattered settlements before the
      Ben Lawers find, most of them based around the coastline and
      lowlands. However, the new site has led historians to believe the
      first settlers may well have been far more advanced than was once
      thought, able to adapt to the inhospitable climate of the Highlands.

      The discovery comes after a recent increase in funding to protect the
      natural landscape of Ben Lawers. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded an
      additional £1m to the National Trust for Scotland in June to assist a
      five-year programme of repairs on Ben Lawers, Glencoe and other
      mountains. The project is designed to improve public walkways, and at
      the same time, preserve the land.

      The five-year Ben Lawers historic landscape project started in 2002,
      aiming to coordinate wide-ranging studies into human influence on the
      landscape of North Lochtayside. Information in the field is being
      collected through detailed topographic and underwater surveys,
      excavations, and environmental and scientific studies.

      - Dec 23rd
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