A tanged point and two blade technologies from Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, western Scotland

  • Inger Berg-Hansen Museum of Cultural History
  • Karen Wicks University of Reading
  • Steven Mithen University of Reading


We describe a tanged point and a blade technology from Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland that provides further support to a Late Pleistocene or Early Holocene presence in Scotland prior to the establishment of the narrow blade Mesolithic industry. The existing evidence for a Late Pleistocene or early Holocene presence comes from isolated finds of tanged points (Tiree, Shieldig, Brodgar), undated assemblages from disturbed contexts that are most likely Late Pleistocene in date (Howburn, Kilmefort Cave), and undated assemblages containing broad blade microliths (e.g., Glenbatrick, Morton). This article provides a summary of recent excavations and the stratigraphy at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, and a detailed analysis the lithic blade blank production at the site, which is, we believe, the first application of a chaîne opératoire based approach to a Scottish assemblage. The study includes comparisons with contemporary assemblages from north-western Europe. The significance of the Rubha Port an t-Seilich finds is threefold: (1) the relative large size of the assemblage that allows a technological analysis; (2) the finds partially derive from a stratified context below a narrow blade assemblage, associated with radiocarbon dates 9301-7750 cal. BP; and (3) further excavation can increase the sample size and potentially expose an in situ Late Pleistocene or early Holocene cultural horizon.

Author Biography

Inger Berg-Hansen, Museum of Cultural History

Museum of Cultural History
University of Oslo
P.O. Box 6762 St.Olavs plass
NO-0130 Oslo


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How to Cite
Berg-Hansen, I., Wicks, K., & Mithen, S. (2019). A tanged point and two blade technologies from Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, western Scotland. Journal of Lithic Studies, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.2218/jls.2892
Research Articles