HLA Type - Early Prehistoric Shell Midden

Early Prehistoric Shell Midden

The people who lived here over 6,000 years ago (during the mesolithic period) were reliant on seasonally changing sources of food, so they travelled through the landscape, picking nuts and berries, hunting and fishing. Gathering shellfish from the shore was a significant source of food.

Some of the mounds of waste shells (shell middens) resulting from these forays are huge. The associated small temporary encampments have only occasionally been discovered and do not extend over large enough areas to be recorded as HLA data. Eating shellfish did not cease when people started to farm, and some of these massive shell middens are a little more recent, being 4 to 5,000 years old.

The extensive shell middens on Oronsay in the Inner Hebrides are visible as mounds in the lighter foreground of this aerial photograph. Archaeological excavation has established their mesolithic date. Such sites are identified from Canmore and its associated archives.

HES DP095550