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)


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.