Scotlands History

Mesolithic hunter-gatherers

In the time line of prehistory, the period of earliest known occupation of Scotland by man is called the Palaeolithic (or Early Stone Age) - more than 10,000 years ago. The Mesolithic (or Middle Stone Age) period, from c 10,000 to 5000 years ago, dates from the end of the last Ice Age.

This was a period of rising temperatures, reaching something like today’s; and rising sea levels, caused by melting glaciers.

During the Mesolithic period Ireland became cut off from Britain by the sea, and Britain from Europe. Forests covered much of the land. The people were hunter-gatherers, but they were also beginning to ’domesticate’ animals such as cattle and sheep.

Hunter-gatherers hunted wild animals or fish for much of their food, and also gathered fruit, nuts, plants, roots and shells to vary their diet. 

Historians use ‘c’ or ‘circa’ if they cannot give an exact date for something. The Latin ‘circa’ means ‘round about’, or ‘approximately’ - so ‘c 5000 years ago’ means ‘around 5000 years ago’. You’ll find ‘c’ used a lot when you study prehistory and archaeology.

  • Mesolithic girl using a stone to crack a nut

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