Eight Mesolithic flints
Photograph of eight Mesolithic flints.
Courtesy of Mr George Holleyman
These flints are almost certainly of Mesolithic age, that is, made by the hunter-gatherer groups who populated Scotland before the arrival of the first farmers in the 4th millennium BC. Microlithic (small stone) tools like this were used all over northern and western Europe at this time.
Measuring 27-55 millimetres in length, the six scrapers have been given a sharp, curved edge by pressure-flaking and were probably used to dress hides. The slim boring tool also has pressure-flaking along the long edges. The flint core has had several parallel-sided flakes, known as ‘blades’, struck off the flat area.
The flints were found in a sand-hill site at Balephuill in the early 1940s by George Holleyman, later a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, who was posted to RAF Tiree during World War II.