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October Lecture: Searching for the Ice Age Pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland

11th October 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Society of Antiquaries of London and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Joint Lecture

The Society of Antiquaries of London and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland are delighted to announce a joint online lecture for this autumn. Professor Steven Mithen FBA FSA FSAScot will present a lecture focusing on his work at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland.

Searching for the ice age pioneers: Excavations at Rubha Port an t-Seilich, Isle of Islay, Scotland

by Professor Steven Mithen FBA FSA FSAScot

Located on a small terrace on the east coast of the Hebridean island of Islay, excavations at Rubha Port-ant-Seilich (RPAS) are providing new insights into the earliest stages of British prehistory. Excavations began after foraging pigs exposed flint artefacts and have now exposed one of the most favoured places utilised by Mesolithic foragers in Scotland. They repeatedly returned to make camp on the terrace between 9200 and 6000 years ago, the site providing a gateway to the Hebridean archipelago with its diverse range of hunting, gathering, and fishing opportunities.

The Mesolithic foragers may, however, have been following in the footsteps of ice age pioneers. Amidst the Mesolithic stone artefacts is a tanged point diagnostic of the Ahrensburgian culture that dates to the end of the ice age, along with debris from a style of tool making quite different from that of the Mesolithic. These finds suggest an ice age Ahrensburgian campsite might remain in place below the Mesolithic deposits, which would be the first for Scotland.  This lecture describes the discoveries and on-going excavations at RPAS, and considers their implications for the earliest prehistory of the far NW of Europe.

Please note that due to COVID 19 restrictions this event will be online only. 

Attendance by Live Stream:

  • Registration is essential. Click here to register for this joint online event.
  • Open to anyone to join, Fellows and Non-Fellows.
  • Once you have registered we will be in touch regarding how you can join via Zoom video-call
  • The event will also be live-streamed to YouTube here, so you can watch along if you prefer
  • Places through zoom will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The event will begin at 18:00.
  • You will receive an email with the link to join the day before the lecture.
  • Attendees’ cameras and microphones will be off throughout.

House Rules

We aim for our events to be safe and harassment-free and the Society has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment and bullying.

The Society expects all attendees to act with respect to one-another during this event and anyone making comments which we believe to be inappropriate (e.g. offensive, misleading, spam) or abusive will be removed from the event immediately.

To report any abuse you think we missed, please contact the Director of the Society, Dr Simon Gilmour (director@socantscot.org)


11th October 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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