Following the retreat of the glaciers from the last ice-age there is evidence that nomadic hunters were the first visitors to the area. They left only a few traces of their passing however and it is from thousands of years later, about 4,000BC, that permanent inhabitation commenced. Stone-Age finds include axes, arrow-heads, knives and pottery. There is a wealth of burial sites from these early days.
Further afield in Deeside saddle-querns (distinctively shaped implements for grinding corn) have been found. It is also believed that the “Short-cist” people arrived in Deeside about 2000 BC (so called because they were buried in short cists averaging 3ft 8ins x 2ft 6ins x 1ft 8ins)
Earth-house specimens were found to have existed near Kincardine O’Neil. These houses were all under ground and had a narrow, low entrance apt to escape notice There is an earth-house a few miles from Kincardine O’Neil, which has been preserved, and can be visited.
A geological fault runs across the whole of Scotland from near Stonehaven in the east to Mull. To the north of this fault the land rises steeply some 1,000 – 1,500 ft. and marking a distinct transition from rich agricultural land to the south to the highlands. North of this Highland Boundary Fault an extensive range of hills called the Mounth separates the valley of the Dee from the rich farmlands to the south. The Mounth was a formidable obstacle to travel in the early days and is crossed by only a few passes. One of these, the present Cairn O’Mount road (B974) crossed from ancient Kincardine Castle near Fettercairn in the County of Kincardine to Kincardine O’Neil where the road crossed the river Dee by a ford before heading north towards the rich farmlands in Moray.
Kincardine O’Neil is therefore located on what was an important cross-roads for, being beside Scotland’s fourth largest river, it also sat astride the Old Deeside Road