Mesolithic and Early Neolithic activity along the Dee: excavations at Garthdee Road, Aberdeen
Early Neolithic buildings, timber halls, radiocarbon dating
River Dee; Garthdee Road; Aberdeen; Scotland; UK
Mesolithic, Early Neolithic
Excavation on a gravel ridge beside the River Dee in Aberdeen revealed a small ovoid building of early Neolithic date. Not only does this add to the very small corpus of early Neolithic buildings yet excavated in Scotland, but the survival of floors and hearths also allows some analysis of functions within the building. The structural, artefactual and radiocarbon evidence suggest that this was a permanent building in use over at least a generation, in contrast to some interpretations of such buildings as temporary shelters. The artefactual and environmental data demonstrate considerable cultural and economic similarities between the occupants of this small building and of the two massive early Neolithic timber halls only a few kilometers away at Balbridie and Warren Field, Crathes. Radiocarbon analysis shows that, although the two halls were built earlier, the Garthdee building may have coexisted with them – emphasizing the varied and complex development of the early Neolithic of eastern Scotland. There is also some evidence to suggest that, although their re-use of an earlier site may have been coincidental, the Neolithic occupants may have been aware of some features of the earlier, Mesolithic, use of the site.