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How long was the Mesolithic–Neolithic overlap in Western Scotland? Evidence from the 4th millennium BC on the Isle of Islay and the evaluation of three scenarios for Mesolithic–Neolithic interaction

Mithen, S. (2022) How long was the Mesolithic–Neolithic overlap in Western Scotland? Evidence from the 4th millennium BC on the Isle of Islay and the evaluation of three scenarios for Mesolithic–Neolithic interaction. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. ISSN 2050-2729

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/ppr.2022.3

Abstract/Summary

Ancient DNA studies have identified western Scotland as the only known region in Britain where inter-breeding occurred between early 4th millennium BC Neolithic migrants and the indigenous Mesolithic population. By drawing on excavations at Mesolithic and Neolithic sites on the Isle of Islay, I identify a period of population overlap and suggest three scenarios for Mesolithic–Neolithic interaction: swift succession, dual population, and biocultural merger. These scenarios are evaluated against the archaeological evidence from Islay and elsewhere in western Scotland, and with reference to patterns of Mesolithic–Neolithic interaction in continental Europe. A cautious preference is expressed for biocultural merger, occurring between the mid-4th and mid-3rd millennia BC, a period that could be termed the ‘Neomesolithic’.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:107337
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mesolithic–Neolithic transition, Neomesolithic, western Scotland, Isle of Islay, radiocarbon dates, DNA
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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