Early Neolithic sands at West Voe, Shetland Islands: implications for human settlement
G. K. Gillmore, N. Melton, 2011. "Early Neolithic sands at West Voe, Shetland Islands: implications for human settlement", Human Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective, L. Wilson
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In 2002 and 2004–2005 archaeological investigations were undertaken on middens exposed by coastal erosion at West Voe in the south of Mainland Shetland, UK. This work established that the site dated from c. 4000 cal BC to c. 3250 cal BC and was of major importance for two reasons: (1) as the first of Mesolithic date to be found on Shetland; (2) as the first site to be found in the Northern Isles that spanned the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition. This paper describes investigations into the origin of sands deposited around 3500 cal BC and their potential effect on human settlement. The sands in question lie between two midden deposits, the lower of which accumulated over the period 4000–3500 cal BC and the upper 3500–3250 cal BC. The sands, therefore, dated to the period shortly after the adoption of agriculture on the archipelago, represented in the lower midden by the appearance of domesticated species and ceramics at around 3700–3600 cal BC, and represented a disruption in human occupation at a critical point in the development of a changing use of the landscape.