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.


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)


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.

Irish Mesolithic Cemetery | Hermitage, Co. Limerick

funeral-pyre◊ Dear Microburins,

This is to highlight an excellent short article about Mesolithic period cremation burials at Hermitage on the River Shannon. The article is on the Irish Archaeology website/blog and was published in March 2013.

“The three cremations at Hermitage are extremely significant and represent an important addition to the very small corpus of Mesolithic burials from Ireland. Not alone are they the oldest burials from the country but they also demonstrate that our earliest hunter-gather ancestors practiced a relatively sophisticated means of disposing of their dead.”


Feel the heat | It’s a cremated Mesolithic colleague

◊ Dear Microburins,

OA_Some_cremated_remains_by_typeExciting news reported on social media today. Despite a few questionable media-focused soundbites, Oxford Archaeology have reported something important. Expected to be Bronze Age, cremated (or at least burnt) human bones – a proportion of an entire body – have been AMS-dated to around 5600 cal BC on a developer-led commercial excavation at Langford, Essex. With so few related finds in the UK and Ireland, and even our Doggerland neighbours on the other side of the North Sea basin, generalisations are still as risky, as are any specific conclusions drawn. However, whether or not we are looking in the right places for the deceased, this adds to the record in a valuable way. I suspect the true value will still take us Mesolithic archaeologists many generations to fathom, but good work!


Image courtesy of © Oxford Archaeology.

Charting Chipeling | Kiplin Hall archaeology exhibition opens 3 April

◊ Dear Microburins,

I’m pleased to announce here that an archaeology exhibition opens on Good Friday at Kiplin Hall near Catterick, North Yorkshire and runs until 28 October.

One-thousand-and-one finds will be on display tracking the prehistory and history of the hall and its estate from the Mesolithic to WWII. This was a fantastic community dig to be involved in last year, truly cross-community, generations and backgrounds, including students from Maryland University. Hopefully there’ll be some great pictures from the inaugural open evening event just before the public launch (my esteemed professor will be there, so I’ll need to prep!).

The monograph on the 2014 excavations is due later this year with Jim Brightman, Solstice Heritage, pulling together the specialist reports, including the prehistoric flint and chert lithics by you know who. My favourite find, however, remains the racing pigeon leg-ring with serial number from the 1960s found in proximity to gun cartridges.

Originally one of Easby Abbey’s monastic granges, Kiplin Hall is a gem of a stately home, trust and volunteer-run, with fantastic grounds, a huge lake, walled garden—you can often buy the lush produce—and plenty to see in a tranquil setting a few miles from the A1 near Brompton-on-Swale and Scorton. A watching-brief excavation in January this year, in a pipe trench, also seems to have revealed evidence for the pre-Jacobean manor’s demolition deposits.