Dr Dene Wright
- Research Affiliate (Archaeology)
My research, as a lithic specialist, centres on the Mesolithic of Scotland with a particular focus on west central Scotland. The structure of my research develops and incorporates Deleuzian theoretical approaches to:
- The concepts of repetition, difference and becoming;
- Identity and group identities as philosophical constructs in Archaeology;
- The symmetry of lithic technology and technological choices;
- Symmetrical approaches to the chaîne opératoire and lithic analysis;
- The construct of time as a relational multiplicity of dimensions in co-existence.
I have been a member of the Project team since 2007, and a site director from 2012. For my part, work in recent years has made a number of significant discoveries. A Mesolithic pit alignment (c.8000 calBCE) is only the second such monument found in Scotland, and the first lowland Mesolithic site in Perth & Kinross. Scratch plough marks, field boundaries and Early Neolithic pits (c.3750-3700 calBCE) at Wellhill provide evidence for the earliest known farming in Scotland. Sherds of pottery recovered from secure contexts during excavations in 2016 revealed settlement evidence indicating a palimpsest of Early Neolithic, Late Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age events.
Coom Rig, Daer Valley, South Lanarkshire
Following forestry trenching, Tam Ward and his Biggar Archaeology Groups’ Daer Project carried out two phases of fieldwork in 2003-04 and 2010-12 at Coom Rig (335-350m OD). There are 39 excavated lithic scatter sites, and another 1,196 lithics from 152 sites. The assemblages comprise nearly 56,000 lithics. The character of the assemblages is predominantly Mesolithic, although the presence of Neolithic arrowheads, prehistoric pottery, and Arran pitchstone at a number of the sites suggests a palimpsest of events from the Mesolithic and the Early Neolithic period. Arguably, these sites at Coom Rig represent the most comprehensive dataset for upland events in Scotland. It provides a unique opportunity to understand the diversity of lifeways across the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic periods to create an intra-regional profile for comparanda at inter-regional and national scales of enquiry.
Three of the lithic scatters have been fully analysed, namely Daer 84, Daer 85, and Daer 94 with a fourth (Daer 86) in progress.
Hugh McFadzean was born in Glasgow in 1919, and lived in Strathaven for greater part of his life before retiring to Stirling in December 1981. He passed away in 2008. Upon leaving school, Hugh served an apprenticeship as a design draughtsman. His career thereafter focused on engineering research design initially in the field of mechanical engineering, and after National Service in the Army moved into research design for heavy electrical engineering and finally to electronics.
Hugh had a keen interest in geology. The exceptional floods in August 1966 along the courses of the Avon and Glengavel systems stimulated enquiries into the taphonomy of river drift, solifluction and gravel deposits. It was at this time that he started to come across prehistoric lithic artefacts. This led to his journey from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s as an avocational archaeologist undertaking surface collections, test pitting and keeping meticulous notes of his fieldwork.
The archive comprises:
- lithics from 80 scatter sites were recorded across South Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Bute, Wigtownshire, Fife and Stirlingshire;
- notebooks and field journals; and
The systematic recording of the archive is now underway. The process will catalogue the lithic material for future analysis, and fully document the collecting and curatorial practices adopted. Two of the lithic scatters from Powbrone have been fully analysed, and a paper for publication is in preparation.
Hugh’s widow Mary and his son Douglas have loaned the archive to the University, pending eventual formal allocation under the Treasure Trove system.
The Archaeology of Variation: a case study of repetition, difference and becoming in the Mesolithic of West Central Scotland (University of Glasgow, 2012).
Supervisor: Dr Nyree Finlay.
- 2007-2008 scholarship to undertake MLitt in Material Culture and Artefact Studies funded by Student Awards Agency for Scotland
- 2008-2011 Carnegie Scholarship from The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland to undertake PhD research
- 2012 Tayside Landscape Partnership £1285
- Archaeology of Scotland
- Archaeology of Europe and the Mediterranean
- Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer Lifeworlds (convenor and course author)
- Recovery and Interpretation of Archaeological Data
- Lithic Analysis (convenor)
- Training supervisors and teaching undergraduates excavation techniques, methodologies and the recording of data.