Chapter

The Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in western Scotland: a review and new evidence from Tiree

Steven Mithen, Anne Pirie, Sam Smith and Karen Wicks

in Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264140
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734489 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264140.003.0025

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy 144

The Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in western Scotland: a review and new evidence from Tiree

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Although both the Mesolithic and Neolithic of western Scotland have been studied since the early 20th century, our knowledge of both periods remains limited, as does our understanding of the transition between them – whether this is entirely cultural in nature or involves the arrival of new Neolithic populations and the demise of the indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. The existing data provide seemingly contradictory evidence, with that from dietary analysis of skeletal remains suggesting population replacement and that from settlement and technology indicating continuity. After reviewing this evidence, this chapter briefly describes ongoing fieldwork in the Inner Hebrides that aims to gain a more complete understanding of Mesolithic settlement patterns, without which there can only be limited progress on understanding the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition.

Keywords: Mesolithic settlement; Neolithic; hunter-gatherers; Inner Hebrides; population replacement

Chapter.  10738 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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