Mesolithic Deeside excavation at Milton of Crathes

Local community archaeology group Mesolithic Deeside have organised a long weekend of excavation at a known Mesolithic site, running until Sunday, November 14.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 8:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 8:03 am
Lithic scatters are found in certain areas all along the banks of the river Dee showing where people made and used tools

The area was fieldwalked earlier this year with 5. 7 hectares walked over three days and 1201 stone tools recovered.

These included flint cores and blades indicating that tools were made and used in the area 6-10,000 years ago. A broken mace-head was also found by an Aberdeen University student on his first outing with the group. The ovoid mace-head is Neolithic in date.

The project is funded by Aberdeenshire Council Marr Area Small Project Grant and the King George V Wind Turbine Trust.

Mesolithic Deeside volunteer with a flint find.

People can volunteer to help at the dig, come along and help with sorting finds or just visit and see what the group have found. If digging please contact Ali Cameron on 07581181057 or [email protected] for more details.

Mesolithic Deeside are a group of volunteers, students and professional archaeologists who have been researching the people living along the Dee from earliest times.

Their work has made some important discoveries relating to the earliest communities to live here, pushing back knowledge of the area to some 14,000 years ago.

The results are detailed in a new book, freely available online at SAIR, and to be launched at Crathes Hall on November 13 from 2pm.

A collection of Mesolithic Deeside finds.

The fieldwork group works with archaeologists including Steering Group Member Caroline Wickham-Jones, a Mesolithic specialist, who nominated the group for the Marsh Award.

Despite Covid-19, Mesolithic Deeside carried on their research and went online, creating a Lockdown Channel on YouTube.

The group recorded talks by professional archaeologists as well as some ‘home-grown’ talks: volunteers researched plants growing in this area in the Mesolithic and recorded a talk about these plants and their uses.

Aberdeen University student with the mace-head found on the surface of the field.

The channel has had around 7500 views and can be viewed at

Caroline Wickham-Jones said: “The work of Mesolithic Deeside has made a real contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric communities who lived along the Dee. Fieldwalking is fun but was obviously impacted by lockdown and they have worked hard to keep group members enthused.

"The YouTube channel has spread awareness of the group and their interests around the world, and unlooked for benefit. This award is richly deserved, and I am pleased to see them getting due recognition for their enthusiasm and hard work.”

Map showing the scatter of stone tools found in 2021

Sheila Duthie is co-secretary of the group, was a founder member and has been wandering the fields of Deeside for at least 20 years.

She said: “When I started finding flints over 20 years ago, I could never have imagined contributing to such a massive project which is without doubt broadening our understanding of prehistoric human activity on Deeside - it’s a blast!”