Rubha Port an t’Seilich 2018
Two weeks ago I returned to the Hebridean island of Islay for the most recent excavation at the Rubha Port an t’Seilich site. Since then myself and a team of staff and students of the University of Reading have been excavating and processing this wonderful, Mesolithic site. The stratigraphic horizons discovered last year have been investigated further by focusing the area of excavation around the central hearth. The exposure of the campfire revealed that it was one of several that had been made with intervals of abandonment in between phases. Surrounding the hearths were in-situ flint scatters, formed of lithics from different materials and exhibiting different production methods. These provided critical dating evidence which collaborated with the C14 dates of the multiple burnt contexts.
It seems this campsite was reused seasonally over a substantially long period of time (7280 – 5680 BCE) and next year we will return to fully excavate and record the flint assemblages. In doing so, we hope to recreate the working landscape of this area, to decipher what lithic technologies developed, why this site was so popular and long-lived and how the people of the past produced their tools in this small, social setting.