The Daer Valley
The Daer Valley was initially visited in the search for bastle house sites, three were discovered; Wintercleuch, Smithwood and Kirkhope.
The valley was re-visited for the M74 Project in 1990 and the area within the reservoir was also inspected in 1995 (and in subsequent years) during periods of low water levels.
Excavations at tree felling site
Clear felled forestry areas were then inspected and all of these enquiries developed into The Daer Valley Project. Numerous excavations for both rescue and research purposes have been carried out resulting in several interim reports being available while others are in prep. Heritage trails to several sites are or will soon be created as visitor attractions for the valley
Scraper and microlith finds from these sites
The principal sites discovered are several Mesolithic camp sites located within the reservoir and high on the surrounding hills, they are radio carbon dated to between c6000 years ago to 10,080 years ago. One site inside the reservoir has produced a range of lithics including many microliths made from unusual types of flint, other chalcedony and an as yet unidentified lithic type, all of which make these hunter gatherer sites very unusual if not unique in their inland locations and finds assemblages.
Excavations of mesolithic site amongst felled forest
Numerous burnt mounds and cairn groups indicate a busy Bronze Age presence and bastle houses and other post medieval settlements with their associated farming landscapes complete the suite of site types.
Laterly we have been exploring the New furrow ploughing area which have been created on the slopes of the valley. You can read more on the latest excavations in chronological order in these recent news articles on Daer: Daer – our new excavation, Daer – a progress report, June 2010, Daer excavation – latest update, August 2010 and Daer Project 2010 – October Update Mesolithic to Neolithic transition, October 2010.
Related Project Reports
Interim Report – Fieldwalking of forestry areas in Daer Valley 2010 – Inspection of clear felled
and newly ploughed forestry areas in the Daer Valley has produced evidence
of the Mesolithic, Early Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, principally
by lithic scatters for the former and burnt mounds/deposits and small cairns
for the latter. Evidence in the form of Early Neolithic carinated bowl
pottery, leaf arrow heads and pitchstone found in association with microliths
and Mesolithic debitage, point to the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition.
T Ward. November 2010.