New excavation at Neolithic mystery site

Aerial view of the Links o' Noltland showing the collapsed dune system. (Historic Scotland)

Historic Scotland has funded extensive research and rescue excavations at the Links of Noltland, where ancient structures are threatened by severe wind erosion of the sand dunes that protected them for thousands of years.

The 2007 programme revealed the corner of an entirely unexpected type of building, quite different from anything else known at the site. It was built using dressed stone to look impressive from the outside. This is unlike the houses of the time, where the exteriors tended to be created with function rather than appearance in mind.

An eight-week season of excavation is due to start on July 28, led by Graeme Wilson and Hazel Moore of EASE Archaeology. Their small team will concentrate on the unidentified structure, which is in the western part of the area owned by Historic Scotland.

Finds from last year, including polished bone beads, tools, and grooved ware pottery, identified the structure as Neolithic, maybe dating back 4,000 years. The first task will be to remove the backfilling which was carried out to provide protection from winter storms.

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