Searching for the Scottish Late Upper Palaeolithic: A case study from Nethermills Farm, Aberdeenshire

Torben Bjarke Ballin (Author)

University of Bradford

Caroline Wickham-Jones (Author)

University of Aberdeen

Scotland, lithic artefacts, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, methodology


In connection with the recent examination, cataloguing and discussion of approximately 30,000 mainly Mesolithic lithic artefacts from Nethermills Farm at Banchory in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, excavated by the late James Kenworthy in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a small number of finds were identified as almost certainly whole or fragmented Late Upper Palaeolithic lithic artefacts, and others as pieces likely to date to this period. The Nethermills flint objects add to a growing list of Late Upper Palaeolithic sites and implements identified across Scotland, including tanged and other points, scrapers, and truncated pieces from Howburn in South Lanarkshire and Kilmelfort Cave on the Scottish west-coast, as well as tanged and other points from the Western and Northern Isles, with eastern Scotland so far having yielded none. On the basis of this case study, the authors suggest an approach for the continued search for Late-Glacial settlers in Scotland in general, as well as for further investigation of the large Nethermills Farm assemblage. The proposed approach suggests that we focus not only on diagnostic tool forms (in particular, tanged and backed points), which have been the focus of Scottish Late Upper Palaeolithic research thus far, but also include other chronologically significant elements, such as diagnostic technological attributes and full operational schemas.

Author Biographies

Torben Bjarke Ballin, University of Bradford

1. Lithic Research, Stirlingshire, Scotland, U.K.
2. Honorary Research Fellow, University of Bradford, England, U.K.

Caroline Wickham-Jones, University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen, Scotland, U.K.


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How to Cite
Ballin, T. B., & Wickham-Jones, C. (2017). Searching for the Scottish Late Upper Palaeolithic: A case study from Nethermills Farm, Aberdeenshire. Journal of Lithic Studies, 4(1).