About Spencer Carter

Born in North Yorkshire, I studied archaeology at Durham in the late 80s. Since then I have worked as a Sales Operations professional for a plethora of global corporations. I have been “mom” and conscience to thousands of sales people, designed and improved processes, built customer service teams across 85 countries and every conceivable culture. I am now on a career sabbatical to re-engage with my passions for prehistory (especially the mesolithic period), cultural heritage management and the joinedy-up bits between academics, the public and communities. I also like walking on hot volcanoes, melting shoes.

Archaeology Podcasts | Mesolithic Journeys with Schools Prehistory

…and not just for kids!

WolfBrotherKim 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.

GatheringNightKim, 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.


Lithics Workshop 2016 | Hosted by Elmet Archaeological Services

ElmetMicroburin—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.


MicrolithsThis workshop will use real prehistoric 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.

Key Topics

  • 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.


Skulls, Shamans and Sacrifice in Stone Age Britain | Mesolithic video

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)


Day of Archaeology 2015 | Over 1800 posts and growing

DOA2015The wonderful Day of Archaeology was yesterday, 24 July, but the posts keep rolling out on Facebook and Twitter #dayofarch @dayofarch. It’s a fascinating insight into what archaeologists around the world are up to—in the field, in the lab, at an event. As ever, the success of the DoA is down to the hard work of the moderators. Now in its fifth year, this is an incredible database of the diversity of activities, people, projects, studies and outreach.

As last year, and while feeling a little under the weather (and oppressed by the endless rain), I managed to squeeze out a post (two in fact) about catching up on a mini-project and the results of fieldwalking with volunteers, plus analysis of previous collections and museum boxes that attest to 10,000 years of activity in the area.

DoA is open to absolutely everybody involved in archaeology so, if you’ve not submitted a post, have a think about doing it—perhaps you’ve been on a community dig, training project or finds-processing session? There’s still time.



UK Mesolithic Sites and Finds Update | Cairngorms, Scotland

Cairngorm_2015-07Mar Lodge Estate, Cairngorm mountains, Aberdeenshire | 2015 excavations by The National Trust for Scotland and archaeologists and environmental scientists from the University of Aberdeen, University of Stirling and University College Dublin with earlier than expected 14C radiocarbon dates | BBC News item 09-Jul-2015

Image | BBC Website.

Blogging and Archaeology | Please help a researcher!

Blog◊ Dear Microburins,

If my friend and archaeological blogger Robert M Chapple doesn’t mind, I’m using his own blog post text here to highlight a request from a researcher.

I’ve been blogging archaeology here myself since May 2012, nattering about my Mesolithic period research and related topics, activities, sites and finds in the news, challenges, frustrations, discoveries and wins.

I too have recently been contacted by Fleur Schinning, a post-graduate student in Heritage Management at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on the use of blogs and social media and how they contribute to the accessibility of archaeology in the Netherlands. For comparative material, she will be looking at a number of blogs from the UK and the USA (where archaeological blogging appears to be widely accepted). I’m honoured that she has asked me, and the readers of this blog, to participate in her research.

  • If you can spare even a few minutes, she would be very grateful if you could complete a simple questionnaire to share your thoughts about this blog | http://goo.gl/forms/z3BAUTyYUL

As a reward for your assistance, you will be entered into a draw for six issues of Archaeology Magazine.


Some Microburin blog statistics

      • Blog set up on 20 May 2012 when I didn’t know anybody in archaeology!
      • 119 posts
      • 19,157 visits
      • 35,819 views from people in 105 countries
      • 1.54 to 1.69 views per visitor this year
      • 1,204 followers on Twitter @microburin