Discarded hazelnut shells have given a group of archaeologists
working on a site in the north of Edinburgh evidence of the earliest
people to have lived in Scotland.
They have uncovered a temporary encampment in Cramond which is
thought to be more than 10,000 years old.
In what has been described as "the most important discovery of
prehistoric Scotland", the remains have been carbon dated to 8500
That makes the settlement almost twice as old as Skara Brae on
Stone tools and discarded hazelnut shells are among 3,000
artefacts discovered at the site.
Previous excavations at Cramond have uncovered a medieval
village and a Roman Fort including the sculpture of a lioness, but
archaeologists says this latest discovery is the most exciting
because it dates back to just after the last Ice Age.
Edinburgh City Council said the find makes Cramond an area of
exceptional historic interest.
It is hoped that artefacts from the excavation can be put on
public display later this year.
Skara Brae, on Orkney, was previously considered to have been
the oldest Scottish site.
Then, in September last year, archaeologists found a farm near
Cleave Dyke in Perthshire which was thought to have been 6,000 years
old - up to 1,500 years older than the World Heritage Orkney site.