A Multi-Scale Landscape Approach to the Production of Polished Stones Tools in Neolithic Shetland

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The Shetland Archipelago at the very north of Scotland contains one of the best preserved Neolithic stone tool quarries in Western Europe. Recent fieldwork by the North Roe Felsite Project (NRFP) has considerably advanced our knowledge of this quarry landscape and the production of polished stone axes and knives. THe NRFP is exploring this landscape on a range of scales from regional geological survey and workshop prediction using multispectral satellite imagery, to the intrasite distributions of artefacts and debitage, and targeted survey of quarry pits. While felsite dykes are present throughout the region, evidence for quarrying is only visible at certain sites. Excavation has shown that quarrying methods and intensity of extraction differs between workshops. These differences appear counter intuitive with more extensive and labour-intensive extraction visible in what appears to be a more remote quarry area. The process of felsite extraction, and the possible local and regional transportation networks used for its distribution, are discussed. Using landscape modelling techniques the situation of the quarries in their landscape are explored with particular focus on the visual and spatial relationship between the quarry pits and their landscape, and between the quarry landscape and the wider region.
Period01 Oct 2016
Held atScottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, United Kingdom