There is evidence of habitation on Mull from the end of the last Ice Age to the present time. This section covers the three ages before there were written records, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
The first Hebridean settlers arrived soon after the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. This was during the Mesolithic period (the middle Stone Age). These people were nomadic hunter-gatherer-fishers, travelling along the coast and between islands using canoes or coracles.
After 4,000 years (c. 4,000 BCE) new arrivals came to the islands and settled down, the first farmers. Farming denotes the start of the Neolithic period (the new Stone Age), the clearance of woodland and building of enclosures, and the dedication of sites for burial. Within a few hundred years the Mesolithic people had disappeared, probably adopting the farming lifestyle themselves.
Around 4,000 years ago (c. 2,000 BCE) lifestyles began to change with the introduction of metal working, the start of the Bronze Age. This was also the time when megalithic structures, standing stones and stone circles were built.
Continuing improvements in metal working led on to the Iron Age (c. 600 BCE – 400 CE). New tools and weapons were introduced and forts, duns and crannogs were built; living styles changed once again.