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Howburn Farm and the Scottish Hamburgian
By Torben Bjarke Ballin, Lithic Research

In 2005, Biggar Archaeology Group, led by the late Tam Ward, discovered a discrete lithic scatter at Howburn Farm, Biggar. The site lies just outside the South East of Scotland Archaeological Research Framework area, but is an important site at the far end of the upper Tweed Valley and it is almost these certain the hunters would have travelled down the Tweed Valley to reach the site. The concentration of lithics was situated on a small terrace, and it included finds of mainly chert and flint. The chert artefacts were defined by diagnostic specimens as dating to the Federmesser period (12,000–10,800 BC) or the Mesolithic (9,800–4,000 BC), supplemented by some Early Neolithic pieces, whereas the flints – first thought to be Middle/Late Neolithic (3,500–2,500 BC) – turned out to be of Late Hamburgian, or Havelte period, date (12,300–12,000 BC). The Hamburgian elements would have arrived through a contact network stretching across the then dry North Sea bed generally referred to as Doggerland (Ballin 2016). Today, Howburn Farm is still the oldest prehistoric site in Scotland and the only Hamburgian site in Britain.

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