Queensferry’s first family home

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THE remains of what is believed to be one of Scotland’s earliest homes has been discovered in Queensferry during archaeological works in advance of the new Forth Crossing.

The discovery of what is believed to be a dwelling dates back to the Mesolithic period, around 10,250 years ago (8420BC).

The find, made during excavations last year, located the dwelling on land close to Inchgarvie House, situated on the banks of the Forth. Extensive works were carried out to ensure that any evidence was recorded and recovered before bridge construction project began. The dwelling was found near to where the new bridge will land on the southern side of the Forth.

Ed Bailey, project manager for Headland Archaeology, the company that carried out the works, said:

“The discovery of this previously unknown and rare type of site has provided us with a unique opportunity to further develop our understanding of how early prehistoric people lived along the Forth.

‘‘Analysis of evidence recovered in the field is ongoing. This will allow us to put the pieces together and build a detailed picture of Mesolithic lifestyle.”

The find featured a large oval pit, nearly seven metres in breadth. The remains featured a number of holes which would have held wooden posts to support the walls and roof, probably covered with turf.

Several internal hearths were identified and more than 1000 flint artefacts were found including materials which would have been used as tools and arrowheads.

Other discoveries included large quantities of charred hazelnut shells, which suggest they were an important source of food for the occupants of the house. All of the artefacts will be preserved.

Speaking about the find, Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown said: “This ancient dwelling, unearthed as part of routine investigation prior to construction, is an important and exciting discovery.

‘‘We now have vital records of the findings which we will be able to share to help inform our understanding of a period in Scotland’s ancient history.”

Historic Scotland’s senior archaeologist, Rod McCullagh said: “This discovery and information from laboratory analysis adds valuable information to our understanding of a small but growing list of buildings erected by Scotland’s first settlers after the last glaciation 10,000 years ago. The radiocarbon dates that taken from this site show it to be the oldest of its type found in Scotland which adds to its significance.”