Re: British Vegetarianism is 8,000 years old?

Doug Weller (
Tue, 10 Oct 1995 20:26:32 GMT

In article <>, (Stewart Mac Intyre) wrote:

> I came across this over the weekend. It posses some interesting
> questions to archaeology and anthropology. I would be interested to
> hear other people views on the finds and deductions! Has any other
> sites been found in the UK or World Wide of similar age and social
> culture?
> ...
> British Vegetarianism is 8,000 years old?
> 'Archaeologists on the Hebridean Island of Colonsay have found
> conclusive evidence of what they believe to be the earliest British
> community of vegetarians. In a shallow, circular pit, the
> archaeologists found the remains of thousands of roasted hazelnuts.
> There was a noticeable absence of animal bones or fish remains. The
> pit has been dated to the Mesolithic period, 8,000 years ago. The
> complete lack of animal remains has convinced experts that Colonsay
> vegetarians lived exclusively on the foods they gleaned from local
> vegetation'
> 'The Scale of the activity, unparalleled elsewhere in Scotland,
> suggests the possibility that Colonsay contained a community of
> enforced vegetarians,' reported the Council for British Archaeology.
> ... The Vegetarian; Autumn 1995 ...

Well, the story was in British Archaeology, June 1995 -- here are
some relevant bits:

The story os headed 'Mesolothic food industry on Colonsay'.

"Evidence of large-scale Mesolithic nut processing, some 9,000 years
old, has been found on the Hebridean island of Colonsay. It provides an unusal
insight into communal activity and forward planning in the period, and
raises the intriguing possibility of a Mesolithic community forced by
circumstances to become temporary vegetarians.'

It goes on to say the pit might 'have been where hazelnuts were roasted and
shelled, or where they were stored for later use, or simply a kind of land-
fill dump...'
The enforced vegetarianism of those on the island may have been because
'deer and other large game may not have existed on the isand at the time.'

Doug Weller