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Saturday, 26 May, 2001, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Nuts give clue to 'oldest' Scots site
Cramond
The settlement was uncovered at Cramond, Edinburgh
Discarded hazelnut shells have given a group of archaeologists working on a site in the north of Edinburgh evidence of the earliest people to have lived in Scotland.

They have uncovered a temporary encampment in Cramond which is thought to be more than 10,000 years old.

In what has been described as "the most important discovery of prehistoric Scotland", the remains have been carbon dated to 8,500 BC.

That makes the settlement almost twice as old as Skara Brae on Orkney.

Skara Brae, Orkney
Skara Brae was previously the oldest
Stone tools and discarded hazelnut shells are among 3,000 artefacts discovered at the site.

Previous excavations at Cramond have uncovered a Medieval village and a Roman Fort including the sculpture of a lioness, but archaeologists says this latest discovery is the most exciting because it dates back to just after the last ice age.

Edinburgh City Council said the find makes Cramond an area of exceptional historic interest.

It is hoped artefacts from the excavation can be put on public display later this year.

Skara Brae, on Orkney, was previously considered to have been the oldest Scottish site.

Then, in September last year, archaeologists found a farm near Cleave Dyke in Perthshire which was thought to have been 6,000 years old - up to 1,500 years older than the World Heritage Orkney site.

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14 Sep 00 | Scotland
Skara Brae usurped as oldest site
19 May 00 | Europe
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14 Mar 01 | Scotland
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