A Multiscale landscape Approach to the Production of Polished Stone Tools in Neolithic Shetland

Author(s): Will Megarry; Gabriel Cooney; Rob Sands

Year: 2017


The Shetland Archipelago at the very north of Scotland contains one of the best preserved Neolithic stone tool quarries in Western Europe. Recent fieldwork by the North Roe Felsite Project (NRFP) has considerably advanced our knowledge of this quarry landscape and the production of polished stone axes and Shetland knives. THe NRFP has explored the landscape dynamics of this activity on a range of scales; from regional geological survey and workshop prediction using multispectral satellite imagery, to the intrasite distributions of artefacts and debitage, and targeted excavation of quarry pits. While felsite dykes are present throughout the quarry complex, definite evidence for quarrying is only visible at certain locations. Excavation has shown that quarrying methods and intensity of extraction differs between sites. The process of felsite extraction, and the possible local and regional networks used for its distribution across the archipelago, are explored in this paper. Using landscape modelling techniques the location of the quarries are explored with particular focus on the visual and spatial relationship between the quarry pits and their landscape, and between the quarry landscape and the wider region.

Cite this Record

A Multiscale landscape Approach to the Production of Polished Stone Tools in Neolithic Shetland. Will Megarry, Gabriel Cooney, Rob Sands. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429219)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17011