2.4 The Resource

The existing record for Perth and Kinross’s earliest hunter-gatherer communities, as we currently know it, remains minimal. Period assigned entries in the Perth and Kinross Historic Environment Record currently consists of 31 sites and monuments, 26 of which relate to chance discoveries of individual lithic artefacts or small assemblages. A commissioned investigation of these lithic assemblages in 2012, including those accessioned at the NMS and Perth Museum and Art Gallery, failed to identify any as being unequivocally Mesolithic in either form or date (Wright 2012).

Sketch drawing of a settlement, with a woman holding a bird over her lap in the centre and another person carrying produce over their shoulders. The area has plants, trees, a hanging pelt and fire. There are fish hanging from a stand made from sticks, and evidence of lithic and rope nearby.
Reconstruction of a Mesolithic settlement ©️ Mary Kemp-Clarke

There are only four recorded sites associated with domestic or lithic working activity, one of which refers to an area of fallen trees and stumps near Craggantoul, to the south of Balnahanaid in Loch Tay. This site has remarkable preservation; it is a highly informative discovery that indicates the presence of a woodland on the edge of the loch from the 9th millennium BC to the 6th century AD when the water level was 4–5m lower than it is today (Dixon 2016, 10). LUP and Mesolithic settlement evidence, which includes both robust dwellings and more ephemeral shelter and windbreak structures, remains elusive across the region. Examples occur close at hand between the Tay and Forth estuaries providing evidence of both multiple structures as at Morton (Coles et al 1971) and individual structures as at Fife Ness (Wickham-Jones and Dalland 1998). These sites suggest that although currently absent from the known resource, there is a high likelihood that similar structures would have been present in the Perth and Kinross area and that archaeological evidence of them remains to be found.

2.4.1 Pits

2.4.2 Palimpsests

2.4.3 Material Culture