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Date 1994

Event ID 567673

Category Recording

Type Excavation


The initiation of a new landscape project in Orkney, investigating changing settlement organisation and material culture through the Neolithic period, began by excavating a settlement complex at Stonehall Farm. Here, a three-week season of excavation uncovered the remains of two early Neolithic houses, approximately 50m apart, adjacent to a large late Neolithic 'village'.

Although the excavations are incomplete, a wide range of material culture has been recovered, including a substantial assemblage of earlier round based pottery, unlike 'Unstan ware', and later Grooved ware pottery of identical nature to that excavated at Barnhouse, Stenness.

While the project is in its early stages, it has already provided important information regarding the range of material culture in use during the Neoiithic and the nature of early Neolithic (pre-Grooved ware) settlement patterns on Mainland, Orkney. The assumed individual farmstead model of early Neolithic settlement appears unjustified and through geophysical survey further potential houses have been identified. Hence, we may tentatively suggest that early Neolithic 'villages' are present on Mainland, Orkney, which, through further work, may throw light on the appearance of the late Neolithic 'Grooved ware villages'.

Sponsors: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Russell Trust, Glasgow Arch Society, University of Glasgow.

C Richards and R Jones 1994.

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