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East Lothian’s First People (8500–800 BC)

East Lothian’s rich landscape was first settled after the retreat of the ice sheets, around 10,000 years ago.

The first people to populate the new land, during the Mesolithic (middle stone age), established one of Scotland’s oldest known houses near East Barns, Dunbar.

The Neolithic and Bronze Age (4000–800 BC) monuments are all that remain of our first farmers, who cleared the forests for fields, and changed the landscape of East Lothian forever.

Standing stones, burial cairns, and enigmatic carvings can still be seen around the landscape, while huge monuments such as the 4,000 year old Drylawhill Cursus at East Linton (large parallel banks with external ditches over 1km long which led to ritual spaces) are only seen as cropmarks.

It is still possible to enter the foundations of a Bronze Age house, around 3,500 years old, halfway up North Berwick Law.

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