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Crarae Garden

Chambered Cairn


Neolithic Scots prefered steak to seafood

John McEarchran - The Herald
PREHISTORIC Scots snubbed the seafood which has since become world famous, it was revealed yesterday in the results of tests on 5500-year-old human bones. Neolithic settlers on the banks of Loch Fyne, Argyll, turned up their noses at the area's legendary oysters, mussels, herring, and mackerel to dine on sheep, cows, and pigs.

The results have surprised scientists who examined the remains from a National Trust for Scotland archaeological site at Crarae on Loch Fyne which have been in storage for 50 years. Derek Alexander, an NTS archaeologist, said: "It is very exciting. It's incredible what the re-examination of old excavations can still tell us using modern techniques."

The bones from the chambered tomb at Crarae Garden were dug up in the early 1950s. New tests can determine different types and levels of carbon and nitrogen in bone, showing whether the long dead human ate meat or fish. Analysis of bone collagen from Crarae has now revealed that prehistoric dinner consisted mainly of beef, mutton, and pork.

Dr Rick Schulting of Queen's University, Belfast, and Dr Michael Richards, of Bradford University also found that the early inhabitants of Scotland changed from being hunter-gatherers to farmers more rapidly than was previously believed. Dr Schulting said: "The shift from hunting and gathering to farming is one of the most important and interesting periods of prehistory. "New results from sites like Crarae are changing the way we think about this shift."
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th February 2003ce

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