3.4.3 Upland Sites – South Lanarkshire and Peebles

Work by the Biggar Archaeology Group (BAG) within the uplands of Clydesdale and the Upper Tweed Valley has produced a substantial corpus of material spanning the Early Holocene. This ranges from the discovery of Upper Palaeolithic material at Howburn (Ballin et al 2018) to sites likely associated with the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition.

Photograph of 14 stone lithics on a black background.
Lithics from Brownsbank and Howburn farms, including Upper Palaeolithic tanged points © HES

The excavation of the Daer Valley sites in South Lanarkshire has produced a wide range of radiocarbon dates and associated lithic material that shows the area was occupied in the vicinity throughout the Mesolithic period. The earliest date was obtained from Daer Valley 1 site at c 8060 BC with the neighbouring sites of Daer Valley 84 and 85 producing much younger dates at c 4280 and 3710 BC (Ward 2017).

Photograph of 17 small lithics on a black background.
Microliths from Daer © Alan Saville

Other sites revealing upland Mesolithic occupation include Weston Farm, Biggar (Ward 2005) which produced dates of 7030 BC and 5050 BC and the largely undated sites of Coom Rig (Ward 2010), and the published sites of Glentaggert (Ballin and Johnson 2005) and Garvald Burn (Ballin and Barrowman 2015). The latter of which at 4350–4000 BC was dated to the very end of the Mesolithic.

detailed illustration of lithics
Lithics from Glentaggert © Torben Ballin

The majority of these upland sites appear to reflect a pattern of repeated short-term occupation undertaken throughout the Early Holocene.