They were probably used by hunters to kill reindeer, mammoth and giant elk and to cut up prey and prepare their skins. The discovery conjures up a picture of wandering groups of hunters making their way across dry land where the North Sea is now, after the end of the Ice Age. The details are revealed in the latest edition of British Archaeology magazine. The editor, Mike Pitts, said the finds were "the most northerly evidence for the earliest people in Britain".
Similar finds have been made in England, but they have mostly been south of the river Humber. Up until now, the earliest evidence for humans in Scotland has come from sites such as Cramond, near Edinburgh. Waste pits and discarded hazelnut shells found there have been dated to about 8,500 BC.
Tam Ward, from the Biggar Archaeology Group, which carried out the dig, said: "To push Scotland's human history back by nearly 4,000 years is remarkable. "We didn't set out to do that," he added. "What we wanted to do was tell the story of the landscape." He warned that "a lot of people won't believe this. Not until they see the hard evidence". "But it'll be great fun proving them wrong. We've got the physical objects, so we can just put them down on the table and say argue with that".
He added that the chances of finding that evidence were "fairly slim, but we live in hope". He said the diggers from Biggar were planning to go back to the site in the summer to explore it further. Historic Scotland provided some funding for the work.
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