Artefacts In: Croig Cave: a Late Bronze Age ornament deposit and three millennia of fishing and foraging on the north-west coast of Mull, Scotland - NMS Research Repository
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Artefacts In: Croig Cave: a Late Bronze Age ornament deposit and three millennia of fishing and foraging on the north-west coast of Mull, Scotland

2012

Abstract

Activity within caves provides an important element of the later prehistoric and historic settlement pattern of western Scotland. This contribution reports on a small-scale excavation within Croig Cave, on the coast of north-west Mull, that exposed a 1.95m sequence of middle deposits and cave floors that dated between c1700 BC and AD 1400. Midden analysis indicated the processing of a diverse range of small fish and the collection of shellfish throughout this period, showing a high degree of continuity involving low-risk, inshore fishing. At c950 BC, a penannular copper bracelet and an amber bead were deposited within a small, shallow pit within the cave floor, suggestive of a discrete ritual episode within the cycle of otherwise potentially mundane activities. Lead isotope analysis indicates an Irish origin for the copper ore. A piece of iron slag within later midden deposits, dated to c400 BC, along with high frequencies of wood charcoal, suggest that smithing or smelting may have occurred within the cave. High zinc levels in the historic levels of the midden C AD 1200 might indicate intensive processing of seaweed.

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