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The Southern Kintyre Project

Exploring interactions across the Irish Sea from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age

Vicki Cummings and Gary Robinson
Publication Year:
212pp. Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This volume presents the results of a five year research project which investigated the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age of Southern Kintyre. This area of western Scotland had seen little previous archaeological research prior to this project, but work centred on Blasthill has revealed the remains of a rich prehistoric landscape. Alongside a known Neolithic chambered tomb, this project also identified a range of prehistoric features including Bronze Age domestic and ritual structures as well as a series of well-preserved curvilinear field systems. Excavations were conducted at the chambered tomb on Blasthill and revealed a complex and long-lived sequence of construction at this site in association with material culture including a small pottery assemblage. Trial excavations and geophysical surveys were also conducted over other features on Blasthill and at other locations in the wider area, and as such we have been able to identify several other key areas of prehistoric activity, particularly in relation to monument construction. Lithic scatters were also recovered from ploughed fields in Southern Kintyre, revealing a series of hitherto unknown sites. This includes two substantial Mesolithic sites and a number of smaller Neolithic and Bronze Age spreads. The excavations conducted by the late Jack Scott at Ardnacross II chambered tomb are also reported on here in detail for the first time. Research has also been conducted on the pottery assemblages from Southern Kintyre in comparison with other mortuary assemblages from western Scotland and eastern Ireland. All of this is set against a broader research question which addresses the issue of how archaeology can inform our understanding of the nature of interactions between prehistoric communities in Southern Kintyre with people in other areas of Britain and Ireland. It seems that there were fluctuating relationships between Kintyre, other parts of western Scotland and eastern Ireland throughout the periods under consideration which we have been able to identify as a result of this project.