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8.2.7 Summary

The lithic assemblage from the Carmelite Friary contains 335 worked pieces, of which 330 are flint. Most of the lithics are residual with only 13 artefacts being from primary contexts. Based mainly on flint types and distribution patterns, it was possible to distinguish between two main sub-assemblages representing different technological approaches.

Sub-assemblage A is based on finer flint varieties, primarily from the orange group, and this raw material was most likely collected at local beach sources. The technology aimed at producing broad blades on regular single-platform cores (soft percussion) with some bipolar production taking place to exhaust the cores completely. This type of material was mainly found in the northern part of the site (Church, Graveyard and 1980-1 excavation).

Sub-assemblage B is based on coarser flint varieties, primarily from the black&grey group, but the source of this raw material is as yet unknown. With its relatively fresh cortex it cannot be beach flint, or flint from the Buchan Ridge Gravels. The technology aimed at producing flakes mainly on irregular cores (hard percussion), and bipolar technique was applied to quarter or open large nodules and to exhaust small irregular cores. Black&grey flint was particularly common in the southern part of the site, dominating West Range (Trench A) completely, and with some overlap into West Range (Trench B), Church and Graveyard.

A small third sub-assemblage (1986 excavation) was recovered from an area north-east of the church and north of the graveyard. Most of the finds from this part of the site represent a flake industry based on first-class local flint dominated by hard and bipolar percussion techniques (a third technological profile).

The tool group's composition is roughly the same in the two main West Range (Trench A) and Church trenches. Scrapers dominate the material from both trenches with approximately 60% of the tools. Borers make up approximately one third, and burins and truncated pieces are represented as individual pieces. Apart from the scalene triangle from the 1986 excavation, and the possible microlith rough-out from the Church, no arrowheads or microliths were found.

The most significant diagnostic element of sub-assemblage A is its technological profile. As a broad blade assemblage (average blade width 12.4mm), it must be assigned to either the Early Mesolithic or the Early Neolithic. The blades appear more regular and delicate than classic Early Mesolithic blades from Scotland, and a Neolithic date may be more probable. An Early Neolithic date is supported by four finely serrated pieces. With its poor, almost un-schematic flake technology sub-assemblage B is most probably post Early Bronze Age. The presence of a scalene triangle, a microlith rough-out , and three burins indicates that the assemblage from the Carmelite Friary contains Mesolithic elements as well, and most of the lithic finds from the 1986 excavation are probably either Late Neolithic or Bronze Age.


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