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'Swine team' lead archaeologists to Ice Age find

Archaeologists from the University of Reading have been sharing the tale of how a herd of pigs led to them discovering the oldest evidence of human activity in Scotland.

Dr Karen Wicks from the University of Reading with the 'Swine Team' Credit: University of Reading

The team were alerted to Islay in the Inner Hebrides after a herd of pigs dug up uprooted mesolithic items while foraging along the coastline. The scientists discovered a set of Ice Age stone tools used for hunting - including sharp points used for hunting big game and scrapers for cleaning skins. The items date back 12,000 years.

Some of the tools found by the archaeologists

"The Mesolithic finds were a wonderful discovery - but what was underneath took our breath away. The Ice Age tools provide the first unequivocal presence of people in Scotland about 3000 years earlier than previously indicated. This moves the story of Islay into a new historical era, from the Mesolithic into the Palaeolithic.

"Western Scotland was the northwest frontier of the Ice Age world, a continuous landmass stretching across Europe to Asia. It was originally thought that people first arrived in Scotland after the end of the ice age, around 10,500 years ago. However we now know that a group of ice age hunter-gatherers visited Islay much earlier, discarding broken stone tools at what we think was maybe a camp site, on the island's east coast...

"The initial discovery was more swine team than Time Team. Archaeology relies on expert planning and careful analysis - but a bit of luck is also very welcome."

– Dr Karen Wicks, University of Reading's Department of Archaeology


Will Scottish 'no' vote affect the South East?

It was a historic vote more than 400 miles away - but the Scottish decision to remain part of the UK will have major implications for everyone living in the South East.

Not only will more power now be devolved to Scotland, but more powers are now expected to be handed over to English councils and cities - councils like Kent, which is one of the largest authorities. Malcolm Shaw reports.

Fried chicken's message: has Scotland gone already?

Where has Scotland gone? Credit: South West News

Stunned fast food fan Terry O'Neil ordered a KFC fillet feast only to find a piece of chicken that looked just like the UK -- with Scotland missing.

Terry, 55, ended up with the savoury 'omen' after ordering a family bucket while on holiday with wife Jo, 39, and their three children.

He plucked out a fresh fillet piece and said: "This looks like Britain - but where's Scotland gone?"

He said: "I picked this one piece out and I thought it looked like the map of Britain, but then I realised Scotland was missing."

Terry, who lives on the Isle of Wight, was on holiday in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with Jo and sons Ryan, 13, Jamie, eight, and 20-month-old Tyler when they popped into KFC.

The pub entertainer said: "I didn't notice it at first, but the closer I looked the more it just looked like the UK - well, England and Wales - but with no Scotland.

"I don't know whether it's an omen for the outcome of the Scottish referendum, but I wouldn't be surprised if Scotland votes 'Yes'.

"I'll be very sad if they do because it will mean we will probably never have another Labour government again.

"I think people in general are very disillusioned with politics and with Westminster in particular. I'll understand if Scotland votes for independence."


Cat who went missing last year shows up in Scotland!

Pablo the cat Credit: CP Library

A cat from Lewisham, who ended up over four-hundred miles away in Scotland, is being reunited with his owner in Sussex today.

Pablo went missing last year but thanks to his microchip, his owners were identified and he is being flown back home.

Tracy Shiells, Regional Development Manager at Cats Protection in North Scotland said, "We have learned that a lady living in Lewisham mistook Pablo for a stray and took him into her home. She then moved to Rosyth in the last few weeks, bringing Pablo and her other cat with her."

Water could be on the way from Scotland

Talks will take place to see if Scotland could provide water to the South East of England. With supplies in parts of the region under pressure, the UK Government has confirmed it is willing to discuss the issue with the Scottish Government. It comes after an offer of help from north of the border.

Even as some hosepipe bans are lifted, the South of England continues to face real issues with water supply, which look set to continue well into the future. Scotland has a plentiful supply of water. Although there are logistical issues, the project is feasible.