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While the debate rages about when deer were first introduced into South Uist, Cardiff University appears to have definitive proof.

For a red deer antler was recovered from a newly discovered Neolithic site on South Uist, alongside cattle and sheep bones.

Cardiff University BioArchaeology unit (CUBA) says the antler was fashioned into a tool.

They comment: “The pick is made of unshed deer antler and shows shaping and use wear. Measurements of the red deer, cattle and sheep bone suggest that all represent some of the earliest introductions to the islands.”


According to a study by NHS Western Isles and the universities of Glasgow and Liverpool, “deer were introduced to the Outer Hebrides by humans 4000 years ago (Stanton et al. 2016) but went extinct on South Uist until being reintroduced in 1975 from Rum.”

The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is generally defined as having begun about 12,000 years ago when farming appeared in the Near East and later in other parts of the world.

The Eilean Dòmhnuill crannog in Loch Olabhat is in contention as Scotland’s earliest example of the architecture and dates back to around 3200-2800 BC.

In 2019 scientists could pinpoint with greater accuracy the end of the last ice age in Scotland to 14,000 years ago.

The date was established using CT scans of mud, silt and sand cores from the Minch that was once filled by an enormous glacier.