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Morton, Mesolithic settlement 350m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Tay Bridgehead, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.4207 / 56°25'14"N

Longitude: -2.8646 / 2°51'52"W

OS Eastings: 346762

OS Northings: 725725

OS Grid: NO467257

Mapcode National: GBR VN.6JKM

Mapcode Global: WH7RK.ZW25

Entry Name: Morton, Mesolithic settlement 350m SE of

Scheduled Date: 28 April 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7641

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Forgan

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Tay Bridgehead

Traditional County: Fife

Description

The monument comprises a Mesolithic settlement site. Fieldwalking over the past 40 years has produced many thousands of Mesolithic finds. Partial excavations have revealed the remains of temporary shelters, hearths and extensive middens.

The monument lies in arable farmland at about 10m OD and is visible today only as a slight eminence. The precise area of Mesolithic settlement is known from fieldwalking and trial excavations. It can also be determined on geomorphological grounds, because, when the site was first inhabited, about 8,000 years ago, the sea was some 9m higher than at present. At high tide the Morton outcrop became a low island measuring approximately 225m by 75m, linked to the mainland only at low tide.

This ancient island was a focus for a range of Mesolithic activities. The abundant stone tools are of a wide range of types, and other artefacts have also been recovered. The middens contain vast quantities of animal, fish and bird bones, and shells. Structural evidence includes the remains of huts, shelters, wind-breaks and occupation, in the form of hearths, stake-holes, post-holes and pits.

The area proposed for scheduling contains the known area of the Mesolithic period island (approximately following the 10m contour line), and allows an additional 20m on the SW side where structural evidence has been discovered. Further evidence of Mesolithic remains may be expected to survive across the whole area proposed for scheduling.

The area is approximately oval in shape with maximum dimensions of 200m NE-SW by 110m NW-SE, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. It excludes the site of a sub-circular quarry mapped by the Ordnance Survey in 1855 and measuring approximately 50m across.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute significantly to our understanding of the earliest known period of human settlement in Scotland. The site at Morton is one of only a small handful of sites in Scotland where Mesolithic finds and middens are known to survive together with evidence for structures and occupation activities. The finds assemblages from Morton are exceptional both in terms of quantity and quality.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NO 42 NE 9.

Reference:

Coles, J. M. (1971) 'The early settlement of Scotland: excavations at Morton Fife', Proc Prehist Soc, vol. 37, 2, 284-366.

Myers, A. M. (1988) 'Scotland inside and outside of the British Mainland Mesolithic', Scot Archaeol Rev, vol. 5, 23-37.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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