Uncovering one of the largest Mesolithic Sites in the UK
THE CRATHES SITE
The brown dotted lines indicate the approximate edges of the three terraces.The lower terrace (below the dotted lines, extends over MC, to the south-west corner of NM 3. Thebankoftheupperterrace(abovethedottedlines)extendsalongthesouthedgeofNM1AintoNM2,and peters out somewhat into a hillocky and pebbly area at the north of NM 3. Betweenthetwo,themiddleterrace,(approximatelocationbetweenthedottedlinesonthemap)widens gradually towards the east becoming the river bank in NM3. See ‘Google Map’ on the General Results page for an aerial photograph of NM 2 showing the terraces.Ingeneral,themiddleandupperterracesarequitepebbly.Thelowerterrracetendstobemoresandy/silty, with fewer pebbles. The south-east corner of MC is quite sandy.Themiddleterraceismorevaried:someareasaremoresilty,especiallyatthebaseoftheupperterracein fieldNM2owingtodownwashfromthebank,withsomeareasmorepebbly.ThenorthernpartofNM3,where the ‘bank’ becomes less steep, and the northern edge of NM 4 are both very pebbly.Thebankoftheupperterraceandthe‘ridge’isquitegravellyandpebblyandextendsfurthereastbeyond NM1Aendinginagravelquarry.OntheothersideofthenorthwallofNM1(inNM1A)somelynchetting has taken place, where the wall has prevented further downwash from the bank. Thesouthernedgeofthemiddleterraceisslowlyerodingasaresultofploughing,especiallyinNM1and2.DuringourfieldwalkinginNM2itwasnoticedthatagravelly/coarsesandylayerwasexposedatthisedge, presumably as a result of ploughing at a deeper level than had been done previously.
Thisextensive,predominantlyMesolithicsite,stretchesalmost2kmalongthenorthbankoftheRiverDeeat Crathes, and is approximately 20 miles SW of Aberdeen, and 3 miles East of Banchory. Themapbelow(fromOSExplorer406AberdeenandBanchory)showstheareaaroundCrathes.Locationsof otherflintscattersnearbyderivedfromCanmore,AberdeenshireSMRandpersonalcommunicationshave been added.
Thesketchmapbelowshowsthelocationofthefivemaincontiguousfieldsalongthenorthbankoftheriver:MiltonCottage(MC)andNethermillsfields1-4(NM1-4).FieldNethermils1Aisthefieldtothenorthof Nethermills field 1.
Jamesfoundevidenceofrigandfurrowinhisexcavation,butwesawnovisiblesurfacesignsinthatfieldorin any of the others we looked at.Victorianpottery,claypipefragments,claymarblesandsmallearthenwarepotswerefoundinallthe Nethermills fields, but not in Milton Cottage field. Maybe this field was not ploughed until after the war?