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The University of Southampton
ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: Submerged Neolithic of the Western Isles

Currently Active: 

This project seeks to resolve the context, nature and significance of a number of recent spectacular underwater discoveries of complete and near complete Neolithic (c.4000-2500BC) pottery vessels from lochs in Lewis, Outer Hebrides. Their submerged contexts have led to an exceptional degree of preservation, allowing both radiocarbon dating and potential residue analysis. While significant in their own right, these finds are more exceptional for the questions they raise, and the potential they indicate for the islands’ lochs to transform our understanding of the Neolithic.

Through marrying state of the art geophysical and innovative diver deployed technologies, the relationship between the recovered material and adjacent islet features will be resolved. This will help us to understand if crannogs (artificial islands) were a more widespread feature of Neolithic life in the Outer Hebrides than has previously been realised. If correct, the lochs hold high potential for the recovery of rare Neolithic organic remains, representing an internationally significant resource.

If you’d like to read more about the project as it progresses you can follow our blog.


Submerged Neolithic
Submerged Neolithic
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