Archaeologists believe they have found the site of what could be
Scotland's oldest farm.
The farm is thought to be 6000 years old - up to 1500 years
older than the World Heritage archaeological site at Skara Brae in
Orkney. The archaeologists from Stirling University have spent nearly
two years working at the site, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire.
The exact location is being kept secret, but it is close to a
burial mound known as Cleave Dyke, which dates from a similar
period. The team has found evidence of flint tools having been made and
a large, roughly circular enclosure, which they believe may have
been home to an extended family of about thirty people.
It is thought the remains of several centuries-old farmhouses
will be found within a small enclosure, which has been identified
using aerial photography. The project is of such importance that Historic Scotland has
seconded a principal inspector of ancient monuments to work
alongside the university team for eleven months.
The inspector, Gordon Barclay, said: "This is really a very
important find. Until now, for the first farmers all we had were religious
sites, 'henges' and ceremonial enclosures. Obviously their houses were timber
constructions, which are difficult to spot on aerial photographs."
The Blairgowrie farmers grew wheat and barley, and farmed pigs,
sheep and cattle. They were also hunters and fishers, using wild resources and
collecting hazelnuts and berries to provide variety to their diet.