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Scientists unearth oldest evidence of farming activity in Scotland

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Posted July 7, 2016

It is said that it is important to know where we are coming from to know where we are heading to. Uncovering our past is not an easy task at all, but sometimes archaeologists make surprisingly interesting discoveries. Now scientists from the University of Glasgow an important piece of Scotland‘s history – evidence of the earliest farming activity in the region.

Scientists unearthed some faint plough marks in the ground, which may be the oldest known evidence of farming activity in Scotland. Image credit: Ikiwaner via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientists unearthed some faint plough marks in the ground, which may be the oldest known evidence of farming activity in Scotland. Image credit: Ikiwaner via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

And the discovery is really quite significant as archaeologists working near Perthshire village of Dunning have unearthed traces of human activity from 10,000 years ago. These traces include earliest known farming activity in Scotland, and remains of hunter-gather communities even older than the evidence of farming. These are very interesting discoveries, because transition from hunter-gatherer to farmer lifestyle was a major milestone in human history. From that point humans were settled down and tied down to a specific location and did not have to travel long distances related to animal migration and seasonal changes.

It is also interesting how scientists made these discoveries. These excavations involved digging large series of pits in the area, which has great archaeological significance. Scientists unearthed some faint plough marks, meaning farming activity in the area. They are likely to be made by hand-held scratch plough known as an ard back in 38th century BC. Archaeologists also found some early Neolithic pottery from almost 6000 years ago.

Dr Kenneth Brophy, who participated in the excavations, said: “Evidence for ploughing and fields in Neolithic Britain is incredibly rare and so the excavation of the ard marks at Wellhill is a very significant discovery that suggests a farming economy had taken hold in this location only a few generations after farming began in Britain around 4000BC”. Even more interestingly, radiocarbon dating of the sites showed that human activity in the place might be dated back to the late 8th millennium BC, which would suggest it is the first evidence of Mesolithic events in the region.

Archaeological discoveries are always very interesting, yet their significance is hard to understand. They may completely reshape the timeline of a particular region and change our perspective of how humans used to live here some thousands years ago. But at the end of the day discovery itself was just some faint plough lines in dirt.

Source: gla.ac.uk

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