Flint was an important material in prehistoric Scotland. It was needed for arrowheads, knives, scrapers and for axes.
Traces of the exploitation of flint by prehistoric peoples are very rare. Several complex pits and working hollows have survived on the Buchan Ridge Gravels south-west of Peterhead. They date to the third millennium BC.
Flint is generally only found in Scotland as small pebbles on coastal beaches, apart from one area south-west of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, known as the Buchan Ridge Gravel.
Buchan Ridge Gravel
Here, the remains of a fossil beach of flint cobbles formed several million years ago was discovered and exploited by early farmers. They dug pits through the overlying soil and glacial clay to reach the flint cobbles.
Den of Boddam
Amongst the stones used by the first farmers, none was more important than flint.
The splitting properties of flint produce sharp fragments, which, especially if worked into tools, have good scraping and cutting edges.
Although beach flint can be recovered at numerous localities particularly along the eastern seaboard of Scotland, only in the North-East is there a substantial inland deposit, contained in the Pliocene gravels of Buchan.
The main deposit lies inland form Stirling Hill and it is here, at the Den of Boddam, that the quarry pits are best preserved.
- 3 miles S of Peterhead.
- Grid ref: NK 113 414 and NK 115 413 - Ordnance Survey Landranger series sheet no. 30
3 miles S of Peterhead, on A952 a minor road runs W from Stirling to Lendrum Terrace. Cross the line of the railway and c 100 m past Whinbush, walk round Sandfordhill quarry and head SW for Mill Dam where the slopes above the dam, particularly on the W side, show pits and hollows which indicate the positions of early quarries. These can be seen best in low sunlight.