Deeside dig unearths exciting new ‘finds’

The team get the dig started - stonework is found immediately under the turf
The team get the dig started - stonework is found immediately under the turf

A dig on Deeside has uncovered exciting new evidence of prehistoric Aberdeenshire.

The excavation at Heughhead, Aboyne, was carried out recently by a group from Mesolithic Deeside.

A number of flints were recovered and samples have been sent for analysis.

It appears the location above the Dee was used over a long period of prehistory for making and repairing tools for hunting and fishing, with later prehistoric people eventually settling there and building a structure, possibly a house.

The group excavated three trenches at Heughhead. A platform of stones was uncovered with a number of flints scattered between them.

The stones were on the interior of the structure and may have been the remains of a roughly-laid stone floor surface.

Some of the recovered flints appear to be Mesolithic in date but the structure itself is believed to be of a later date, possibly Bronze or Iron Age.

The excavation, funded by Aberdeenshire Council archaeology service, was carried out after prehistoric flints were found in an area of land at Heughhead by the late farmer, Evan Duncan, and later by Doug Riach, a Deeside Heritage Society member, who brought them to the attention of Mesolithic Deeside.

Director Ali Cameron said: “The excavation was an absolute success and more than 100 people took part or visited over the two days.

“Finding evidence of this structure so close to the surface is incredibly exciting and we are looking forward to getting dates for the post-holes.

“The number of flints recovered will allow our flint expert to say what people were doing at the site and when”.

Neil Ackerman, the council’s archaeological assistant added: “The structure and flints that were found provides new knowledge of prehistoric Aberdeenshire, which will inform future management of the archaeology in this area.

“The enthusiasm of the local community was truly fantastic, with large numbers of all ages getting out and taking part in the work, contributing towards our understanding of the site.”

Mr Riach, who first identified the flints as possibly Mesolithic while jogging in the area in 1990, said: “These flints and the possible structure have been there a very long time. Now at last we have the people with the skills and knowledge, hopefully, to tell the story of what the site is all about and further engage the community in our wonderful heritage.”