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Settlement (Mesolithic)

Site Name Morton

Classification Settlement (Mesolithic)

Alternative Name(s) Tentsmuir; Old Quarry Field

Canmore ID 33111

Site Number NO42NE 9

NGR NO 467 257

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Forgan
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO42NE 9 467 257

See also NO42NE 159.

Mesolithic Settlement, Morton: In February 1957, some flints were collected by Mr Candow from molehills and other exposures on the high ground of the 'Old Quarry' field at Morton farm. Surface collections continued to be made until 1963 when excavations of the site ('A') were begun by Mr Candow; these continued until 1967. In November 1967, site 'B' was discovered in the same field and partially excavated. Excavations were carried out at both sites in 1969-70 by Coles.

Evidence indicates that at the time of occupation, the high ground of the 'Old Quarry' field was a low island, 225 by 75m, linked to the mainland only at low tide.

Site 'A', indicated on OS 6" at NO 4674 2569 by Mr Candow in 1966 (visited by OS (JLD) 28 July 1966) lies near the highest part of the present promontory (12m OD); 'B' lies on the N slope of the promontory, stone 40m NE of 'A' (i.e. at NO 4676 2573).

About 13,500 flaked stones were recovered from site 'A'; the main definable types of tools are small edge tools, lerge edge tools, end scrapers, burins, awls and microliths, Hammerstones, grinding and polishing stones were also recovered. Hearths, stake-holes indicating the construction of wind-breaks and a sleeping-place, artifacts etc indicate occupations of short duration, from several days to a week or more.

Hearths, post-holes, artifacts, and also a midden containing animal, fish and bird bones, shells etc were located at site 'B'.

Eleven radio-carbon dates were obtained from material taken from various points over the two sites; apart from one date of 12,200 +/- 240 BP obtained from an extremely small sample, they form a reasonably consistent series from 8050 +/- 255 to 6115 +/- 110 BP.

The finds have been deposited in Dundee Museum and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS).

(For full details of the excavations and analysis of the material obtained, see Coles 1971).

See NO42NE 12 and NO42NE 24 for other finds from the Morton area.

J M Coles 1971

Further small excavations have been carried out here; details of these, and analysis of the finds made await publication.

J M Coles 1974; M Gregson and J Kenworthy 1980.


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