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Murray Cook takes a hard look at our geology.

Where do you live? Is it in a new place or an old one? Now remember I'm an archaeologist so the Battle of Bannockburn is fairly recent to me (and as I tell my wife that's why I can never remember our anniversary).

The oldest human camp in Stirling is about 7000 years old and the first settlements were all on the high ground of Stirling, Dunblane, Cowie and Kippen, while the later - Raploch, Cornton and Plean ones were on the low ground.

For centuries the ForthValley was under water, very boggy or flooded by the Forth.

So people built on the high ground, which, if not totally dry, was sometimes just enough to stop the farm being washed away.

Therefore, we get names such as Falleninch, or Inchie or Inch of Leckie, 'inch'being Scots for island, or rather just slightly higher ground.

But the landscape is older than people and geological time is mindboggling.

Castle Rock, Craigforth and Abbey Craig are 400 million year old volcanic sills, intrusive flows of magma.

Scorching flows of lava spread across where the Forth would be and flowed down the northern side of the Ochils sealing fossil beds and layersand layers of coal. All of which formed when Scotland lay at the equator in warm shallow seas.

The picture is of a 400-300 million year old fossil of a tree fern from Gowan Hill.

Later still, around 360-260 million years ago Stirling sat in the middle of a rift valley, the line of the fault is the south facing scarp of the Ochils, and the area where the Forth now flows dropped by three to five kilometres, all of which was sealed during the ice age.

The fault is still active and every few years there is an earthquake, though very small and just enough to wake people up in the night.

CAPTION(S):

Stone me Fossil from Gowan Hill is between 300 and 400 million years old

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2019
Words:325
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