5.6 Research recommendations

The appropriate use of scientific techniques is an important factor for any archaeological project. Specific recommendations include:

  1. Examination of archaeological assemblages to gauge whether the procurement sites may be primary or secondary sources, and whether the raw material may represent any form of selection (flaking properties, colours and patterns, etc.);
  2. Comparison of archaeological samples with geological samples, in collaboration with geologists and in the field, as well as the lab, where possible;
  3. Field work to inspect potential source locations/quarries.
  4. Development of work on use-wear/residue analysis for lithic assemblages and more frequent application to excavated material. 
  5. Understanding the dynamics of the formation of occupation deposits as well as identifying specific craft or processing activities within sites through the application of a range of methodologies to artefactual analyses, including use wear and contextual analysis.
  6. Experimental replication of artefactual and site processes.

5.5 Raw material studies

Due to the fact that the bulk of evidence from Scottish Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites is in the form of lithic artefacts, lithic raw material studies form an essential part of research into Scotland’s earliest prehistory. Scottish geology offered a wide variety of lithic raw materials, and the study of these raw materials permits the lithic specialist to discuss a number of issues. The most important of these are: