The archaeological pitchstone from pits is also dated indirectly through association with prehistoric pottery, and in addition this pitchstone provides supporting dates, through association in these same pits, for the importation into Scotland of axeheads of tuff (petrological Group VI) from Great Langdale in Cumbria (Bradley & Edmonds 1993). The distribution of archaeological pitchstone across northern Britain from the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, west of Glasgow. Pitchstone is expected – in due course of time – to be identified in assemblages further towards the south where it may have been misidentified as black chert, black flint, jet or glassy slag (Ballin 2008).
The only part of northern Britain where pitchstone artefacts have not been recovered is Shetland, where a marked insularity in the use of raw materials is evident (Ballin 2011c). [Click here for a higher resolution image.] The dating of archaeological pitchstone, as presented in Ballin (2009a), relies partly on positive evidence (the presence of diagnostic elements) and partly on negative evidence (the absence of diagnostic elements). 2012, Big pit, little pit, big pit, little pit ...: pit practices in western Scotland in the 4th millennium BC. 1993, Interpreting the axe trade : production and exchange in Neolithic Britain.
Furthermore, the probable absence of pitchstone microliths on the Scottish mainland has recently been confirmed by the recovery of a large pitchstone assemblage at Stanton West, near Carlisle, which included microblades but no diagnostic Mesolithic types (Dickson forthcoming).
100 find locations, but in 2009 approximately 20,300 pieces had been recorded, from c. The aim of the present paper is to present new absolute and contextual dating evidence for Scottish archaeological pitchstone. In: The archaeology of the Carlisle Northern Development Route (Brown, F., Dickson, A., Clark, P., Gregory, R. Haggarty, A., Henshall, A., Grove, R., Cowie, T., Foyon, A., Mc Cullagh, R., Jordan, D., Moffat, B. 1991, Machrie Moor, Arran: recent excavations at two stone circles.
Before proceeding any further, it may be relevant to first explain to readers based outside Scotland what pitchstone is. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 121: 51-94. W., (Ed), 2002, Igneous rocks a classification and glossary of terms : recommendations of the International Union of Geological Sciences, Subcommission on the Systematics of Igneous Rocks, (2nd ed.).
Note that the dates from Fordhouse Barrow are TAQ dates provided by charcoal recovered immediately above the pitchstone-bearing pit; a leaf-shaped point from this pit defines the deposition as EN, and the pitchstone from the Fordhouse Barrow pit therefore clearly dates to the first half of the Early Neolithic. 2011a, The Levallois-like approach of Late Neolithic Britain: a discussion based on finds from the Stoneyhill Project, Aberdeenshire.
The pit underneath Fordhouse Barrow has not been dated by charcoal from the pit itself, but the leaf-shaped flint point associated with the pit’s pitchstone defines the small assemblage as definitely post-Mesolithic, and the three listed radiocarbon dates (Table 1) are from the barrow’s Phase 3B immediately above the pit, thus providing TAQ dates for the pit. 2009b, The lithic assemblage from Doon Hill, Dunbar, East Lothian. In: Flint and stone in the neolithic period (Saville, A., Ed.) Neolithic Studies Group seminar papers Vol.
This suggestion is supported by worked pitchstone from radiocarbon-dated pits, where all presently available dates indicate that, on the Scottish mainland, Arran pitchstone was traded and used after the Mesolithic period, and in particular during the Early Neolithic period.
Keywords: pitchstone, volcanic glass, Neolithic, radiocarbon dating, contextual dating, pits, prehistoric exchange In 2009, the author concluded the project Archaeological Pitchstone in Northern Britain with the publication of a monograph in which he discussed various issues relating to this topic (Ballin 2009a). 23, Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, London: p.
In 2009, only a small number of pitchstone artefacts were known from radiocarbon-dated pits, and several of these dates were characterized by quite large standard deviations, such as one from Carzield, and one from Chapelfield (Figure 3). 2011c, The post-glacial colonization of Shetland – integration or isolation? In: Farming on the edge - cultural landscapes of the North : some features of the Neolithic of Shetland : short papers from the network meeting in Lerwick, Shetland, September 7th-10th 2010 (Mahler, D. & Andersen, C., Eds.), National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen: p.
Since then, numerous pits containing worked pitchstone have been excavated in Scotland. It is obvious from Figure 3 that deposition of pitchstone in pits, and thereby the exchange of pitchstone between Arran and the rest of Britain, is predominantly an Early Neolithic phenomenon, as also suggested by other evidence (above).
The International Union of Geological Sciences has recently published a comprehensive nomenclature scheme for these and other igneous rocks (Le Maitre 2002). Scottish Archaeological Research Framework, Edinburgh, 147 p. 2013, A brief discussion of the prehistoric finds from Stainton West, Carlisle, Cumbria.
Here, the term pitchstone is restricted to hydrated glassy rocks (typically 3–10% H Figure 1.
In the present paper, the author offers new absolute and contextual dating evidence for Scottish archaeological pitchstone.