Hunting the Hunter-Gatherers: Mesolithic Teesside
◊ Dear Microburins
The lovely folks at Tees Archaeology have recently published a *free* and lavishly illustrated e-booklet on Mesolithic Teesside (oh yes, we have Mesolithic!).
The booklet brings together information about the first people of Teesside, north-east England, during the Mesolithic Period (around 10,000 – 4000 BC).
Congratulations to ‘flintman’ Peter Rowe and local artist Nigel Dobbyn!
◊ Dear Microburins,
The University of Reading today issued a press release on exciting Late Glacial finds and geo-archaeological evidence from Islay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Trial excavations in 2013 have, literally, just scratched the surface.
“The archaeologists are grateful to the game-keeper who came across the Mesolithic objects after the pigs, who were released on Islay to reduce bracken, unearthed them, and thankful to the resident who knew of the earlier work the Reading team had conducted on the island, and tipped the researchers off.
Several layers of volcanic ash were found at Rubha Port an t-Seilich coming from both above and below the stone artefacts. This has enabled the team to date them [Tephrochronology] at 12,000 years old, 3000 years older than any previous discovery on Islay.”
All praise to the JQS for being open-access too!
◊ Dear Microburins,
The UK Mesolithic Sites & Finds page has been updated with:
- East Islay Mesolithic Project | Storakaig and Rubha Port an t-Seilich Archaeological evaluation of new Mesolithic sites on Islay, western Scotland by Steven Mithen and Karen Wicks (Website and video).
The Mesolithic Videos page also now includes a new Youtube video:
- Mesolithic Arrow | Will Lord | 27-Sep-2015 Youtube (15min)
Watch master flint knapper and tool-maker Will Lord create a fletched Mesolithic arrowhead.
If you have other suggestions to add, with a webpage or press/media link, please get in touch.
…and not just for kids!
Kim Biddulph, director of Schools Prehistory, has launched a series of podcasts where she invites archaeologists and experts in teaching prehistory to review books about the Mesolithic period.
Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland’s archaeologist, Donald Henson, studying for a PhD in Public Perceptions of the Mesolithic at York University, and James Dilley of Ancient Craft and about to embark on a PhD as well, chat about the wondrous period of hunter-gatherers, wildwoods, and magic in the forest, as evocatively portrayed in Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver, published in 2005 by Orion Books.
Kim, yer own Microburin, together with Caroline Wickham-Jones (University of Aberdeen) will be exploring Margaret Elphinstone’s incredibly well-researched novel The Gathering Night (2009, Canongate) later in October, as well as pondering Doggerland, cold snaps, tsunamis… and a lost son.
Microburin—in the guise of TimeVista Archaeology—is delighted to have been invited by Elmet Archaeological Services Ltd, a community-based enterprise, to deliver the latest in hopefully a number of Lithics Workshops. There’ll be plenty of Mesolithic. The next scheduled session is Sat 5 March 2016 at Wath-Upon-Dearne between Sheffield and Doncaster, England | Booking info »
Who it’s for
The workshop is aimed at anybody with an interest in British prehistoric archaeology and stone tool technology, whether actively involved in fieldwork, designing a project, or just generally interested by what they see in museums and in the media. This is an informal workshop with plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion.
This workshop will use select prehistoric teaching artefacts—and a gun flint!—in hands-on sessions to explore the importance of flint and chert in prehistoric northern Britain, and what kind of insights archaeologists can deduce. Using mock-up flint assemblages—with tools and debitage—participants will also learn how to approach the analysis and recording of lithics. Case studies from north-east England will show the kind of narratives that can then be constructed.
- Natural or human? | The nature of flint and chert, how to tell if it has been used or worked
- Signatures in stone | Technology of knapping, nomenclature, attributes, form, function and symbolism
- Keyholes to the past | Key lithic indicators and changes through time, material culture associations and typologies
- Lithics matter | Important research questions, things we know and things we don’t, occupied spaces, human mobility and exchange
- From field to desk | Good practices in field-walking and excavation, how to approach assemblage analysis and recording, cataloguing, principles of illustration and photography
Lithics Training by TimeVista
If your group or organisation, whether commercial or community non-profit, is interested in receiving similar training—for example, as part of your staff CPD or a field project—please get in touch with me at TimeVista Archaeology to discuss opportunities.
Mesolithic videos update
Having had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an antler ‘headress’ in situ in the 2015 excavation season at Star Carr earlier this year (plus shed loads of flint, wood, antler and bone), here’s a short video from the dig team.
◊ Skulls, Shamans and Sacrifice in Stone Age Britain | Digging Diaries | 13-Jul-2015 Youtube (2min)
The Mesolithic settlement of Star Carr in North Yorkshire has fascinated archaeologists for decades. Nicky Milner and her digging team from York University are embarking on their final ever excavation on site to unlock the secrets of this mysterious landscape. They’ve been filming every moment of discovery to give us a glimpse into our ancient past.
Image | Prof Nicky Milner & Son at Flixton Island, 2014 (Microburin)