The Mesolithic occupation of Scotland began soon after the end of the last glaciation, between 10,000 and 9000 years ago. Considerablc research has been undertaken in the past two decades (Mithen 2000; Pollard & Morrison 1996; Woodman 1989; Young 2000); much has been published, more is awaited, and work continues apace. Mesolithic sites occur throughout Scotland, though recent archaeological activity has been concentrated on the western seaboard.
The coastal nature of much of the Scottish Mesolithic has long been recognized, although the contribution of inland sites is becoming more apparent. The relationship between shell middens and lithic scatters and the nature of the midden sites themselves are slowly becoming clearer (Bonsall 1996; Finlayson 1998), though the make-up of the material culture remains vague, as known early sites with preservation of organic materials are few and far between and specialists remain divided over their interpretation. More widely, it is generally recognized that the Mesolithic occurred during a time of dynamic enviromnental change although the impact on the human population remains to be documented.