Experimental Archaeology | Reconstructing the Holmegaard mesolithic bow

Dear Microburins,

This informative article by Jake Rowland (Digital Digging) offers insights into the design, construction and use of the mesolithic bow discovered at Holmegaard (Holmegårds Mose) in Denmark, dated to around 7000 BC. Two bows were discovered in 1944, one complete, and are now in the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen.


“For our Mesolithic ancestors, the effectiveness of the stone tools used by the bowyer who made original Holmegaard bow couldn’t be measured by how much wood they removed or how easy they were to use, ultimately it came down to the effectiveness of the bow itself.  It wasn’t something made for recreation: it represented the survival of an entire people. It was the tool that put food on the table and ensured the longevity of our Mesolithic ancestor’s survival.”

Jake takes us through each of the steps, including the lithic (flint) technology brought to bear – and not without some damage to his adze which makes for interesting testing against our lithic artefactual records. He makes good observations about the effectiveness of flint versus chert (adze) and scrapers versus blades.


Image | Creative Commons | Holmegaard1 CC BY-SA 3.0 | MartinFields

Just a little bit of fame | Desert Island mesolithic

In the pressDear Microburins,

I’m humbled to have had my ten archaeological book choices, for a cerebral desert island, published in a wonderful blog by Lorna Richardson (soon to be a PhD doctor Richardson care of University College London, viva on 4 July).

Image | Me in the middle front, aged 14, doing exactly the opposite of what the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette photographer asked. Usual. Everyone else “obeyed”: look at their eyes, look into their eyes…

This is a lovely initiative by Lorna, the Desert Island one, asking archaeologists to select the ten tomes that they would take to their sea-lapped, crustacean-riven island. Everyone is welcome to contribute through 2014. After that, who knows? Will you crash, burn and swim from a Fedex package somewhere over the Pacific Ocean? When I do, I promise I’ll be drinking a rather large and serious Baileys on ice.

PS, I recanted the “Spence” story to mam last week (she is not Tinternet-enabled) and she cried again. Mams, eh? Dad is long-since buried/scattered, but missed for sensible financial advice (after graduation).


Chert Fishing by JR Hartley? | In search of Mesolithic raw materials in Swaledale


This gallery contains 19 photos.

Dear Microburins, May has been an extraordinarily busy month enhanced by the onset of Spring – albeit with some rather torrential episodic rain showers (or storms). The climax of the month really had to be the Lithoscapes kick-off conference held … Continue reading

Archaeology Campaign by BAJR | Fight the pay sink-hole

Dear Microburins,

I can’t say anything better here than my good friend David Mennear at These Bones of Mine, and so here’s a snippet and a link to his overview:

The British Archaeology Jobs and Resource (BAJR) site has recently unleashed a new campaign aimed at highlighting job adverts that pay more than the minimum salary wage.  The More than Minima campaign aims to highlight and recognise any job advertisement on the BAJR website that pays beyond the minima as a starting rate, which helps to promote fair pay within the archaeological industry. Advertisements that meet this criteria will have the BAJR green thumbs up logo attached to the job advertisements so that potential applicants can immediately know that the company and position pay above the recognised and current pay grades.

Minima logo

On all archaeological job advertisements on the BAJR website look out for the green thumbs up logo to show that the advertisement offers a More than Minima salary (Image courtesy of David Connolly/BAJR).

We must all join together to fight for professional standards, recognition and fair pay for a skilled job in archaeology and the heritage industries. We contribute positively to UK GDP, to tourism and foot-fall, to community well-being by fostering a sense of place, belonging, responsibility and guardianship as the core of our inclusive values.


Microburin update | UK Mesolithic Sites and Finds

Dear microburins,

UK Mesolithic Projects, Sites and Finds page has been updated

FetchamAlso see Mesolithic stories on the microburin scoop.it site | Last updated 15-May-2014

Added | Fetcham, Surrey, England; Cuxton, Kent, England; Dunragit bypass, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

The latest updates are from the press and, while quite brief, continue to provide evidence for “Mesolithic everywhere”. The two most recent discoveries are developer-led commercial engagements in England and Scotland.

If you want to refer a media news story or project update, please do post a comment! The more eyes out there, the better – debitage or otherwise.


Wild Things | New book coming later this year

Wildthings2014Recently, Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeology has been breaking boundaries worldwide. Papers and posters presented at the Where The Wild Things Are Palaeolithic and Mesolithic conferences in Durham (2012 and 2014) reflect the latest research and discoveries.

Finds such as the Mesolithic house at Howick, the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, and the recently discovered footprints at Happisburgh all serve to indicate how archaeologists in these fields are truly at the cutting edge of understanding humanity’s past. This volume celebrates this trend by focusing on recent advances in the study of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic.

OxbowWild Things: Recent advances in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic research [Paperback]

Frederick W. F. Foulds (Editor); Helen C. Drinkall (Editor); Angela R. Perri (Editor); David T.G. Clinnick (Editor); James W.P. Walker (Editor) | Details »

ISBN: 9781782977469 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2014 | Language: English 208p | Status: Not yet published – advance orders taken