Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Age c 4000BC – 800BC
Sheridan, J A
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Neolithic c 4300/3900 BC to c2450 BC Some time between 4300 BC and 3900 BC a new way of living, featuring the cultivation of cereals and the management of domesticated animals, appeared in the area. This represents the beginning of what archaeologists call the Neolithic (New Stone Age) period. This new lifestyle also featured a novel technology - pottery making - and other new practices, including the construction of megalithic chamber tombs as communal houses for the dead, which were wholly alien to the lifestyle and beliefs of the indigenous communities who had lived in Argyll for several millennia. There has been much debate about how these novelties came to arrive in Britain and Ireland, with one school of thought arguing that the indigenous hunter-gatherer-fisher groups were the 'prime movers' for the introduction of these novelties, while another attributes the appearance to episodes of immigration by small farming groups from two areas in northern France. Some of the detail of this argument is presented in this section, with the Breton-style closed chamber and simple passage tomb with Breton-style pottery at Achnacreebeag, near Oban, reflecting one of these strands of Neolithisation. Other Neolithic monuments in Argyll include the cursus monument and stone circles in Kilmartin and there is evidence indicating that rock art (mostly found in the form of cup marks and cup and ring marks, but also including spirals and lozenges) dates to this period. There is plentiful evidence for the existence of links with other parts of Scotland and with Ireland from the Early Neolithic onwards.