This guide is aimed at those who encounter potential lithic scatter sites in Scotland and who may wish to understand the issues around them and the approach to assessing and investigating them. These may be community groups undertaking archaeological fieldwork, those undertaking academic research projects, or anyone considering engaging with such a site for the first time. This document may also form a brief guide for those involved in development control of such sites.
Lithic scatter sites are inherently vulnerable. Modern agricultural methods, development and natural erosion processes can all threaten these sites, and they should be regarded as a diminishing resource. However, they are also one of the most important windows we have into our prehistoric sites, particularly for the Palaeolithic and Early Neolithic periods. They have been recognised since the earliest days of archaeology in Scotland and are a key archaeological resource. The scatters on the surface often indicate the potential for complex surviving remains. They are a highly variable site type which can be complicated to assess and understand.
This guide provides advice on the wide variety of techniques that can be applied to understanding lithic scatter sites, and how they can be applied. Each site is different, and the approach will always be site specific.