Maxton Scotland
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Maxton Nature Watch

Rutherford Lithics Finds


The finds at Rutherford cover two periods of Prehistory. The earliest finds are Mesolithic. These consist of small cores and microliths. They were made by hunter-gatherers who ranged up and down the Tweed Valley between around 8,500 BC to about 4,000 BC.

If you take a moment to think about that, the recorded history of Scotland is about 2,000 years old (that’s when people first began to write about this land). These hunter-gatherers were using the resources of Rutherford 8,000 years BEFORE recorded history. At that point, 10,000 years ago, the British Isles were still part of Europe.

These aboriginal people were skilful users of their habitat. It is quite possible for them to have sat down to an autumn feast of oysters and smoked salmon, followed by venison with garlic and mushrooms, finishing with a compote of mixed fruit!

The majority of Rutherford finds are from the Neolithic era. This is the time of the First Farmers. The change from hunter-gatherer to farmer did not happen overnight. But about 4,000 BC it did lead to a substantial change in the lifestyles of those who lived in this part of the Tweed Valley.

Just as the farmers of Maxton today, an investment was made in time and effort to sow, tend and reap crops. This meant more time was spent in one area, and dwellings established that were more substantial, more permanent. This change also led to monuments, such as henges and stone circles being built.

One of the first indicators of this change are the appearance of Saddle Querns which were used to grind grain into flour. The saddle quern is so called for it’s shape. On a hard rock, perhaps with a natural dish shape, grain was placed. A smaller ‘rubber’ stone was then used to crush and rub the grain in a ‘back and fore’ action. Constant use produces a concave, smooth surface.

Mesolithic Core and Flakes

Saddle Quern

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Date: 06/10/2009