While this blog tries to maintain an even keel between serious archaeology and flooded human lives (our rivers have been very high this week and it was, despite blight, insightful to see many palaeo-lakes reforming in the Yorkshire countryside), there is a debate—quite a serious one—around Mesolithic mobility and territories in the north of England.
Did we span east and west across the Pennine watershed backbone? Did we span north and south back in the post-glacial? How does Wolds, Lincolnshire and Trent flint find its way up to Northumberland, and Pennine chert to the uplands of eastern England (North York Moors)? These journeys were greater than 100km through dense Holocene forests, river valleys, lakelands and uplands. At an estimated 0.01 persons per kilometre, how did reproductive relations within a heathy “gene pool” happen, and where? Did they? Was there aggregation—and if there was, where, how and by what social means and context? Can we find evidence? Are the “persistent places” in the Pennines and North York Moors evocative of the gathering of communities, or simply the familiar places revisited by small groups over several millenia?
While you chew over these para-anomolies, please find humour in these case studies:
- The Yorkshire case | Youtube 3m51s
- The Lancashire case | Youtube 2m30s
- How to find The North | Youtube 43s
You decide? Where did culture originate, coagulate and separate 12,000 years ago? I believe the evidence is embedded, negotiated and mediated within our contemporary soap operas:
♦ Spence (Yorkshire Pud)
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Great story out this week. Decorated and painted paddles dating back to the Ertebølle “culture”—late Mesolithic hunter-gatherer-fisher—have recently been found in Horsens Fjord, Denmark. They were being damaged by strong ocean currents.
“The indispensable dugouts enabled the Ertebølle people to travel far and wide. They could even travel across ice in winter, so it was probably not uncommon for them to meet people of foreign origin.”
The paddles have been Carbon-14 dated to around 4700-4540 BC, the Middle period of the Danish Ertebølle period.
“The painted paddle blades bear witness to the decorations and colours which have undoubtedly been a regular part of everyday life in the Stone Age, but of which we only get the occasional glimpse.”
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