Archaeological Science at Bradford Kaims | Want to look at my phytoliths?

◊ Dear Microburins,

BRP_BK_M1One of the Bamburgh Research Project’s focal points has been at Bradford Kaims located a few miles from Bamburgh, near the village of Lucker in Northumberland. A combination of excavation and palaeo-environmental investigations are ongoing in a wetland area, with excellent organic preservation, where early Neolithic burnt mounds are associated with a stone-based hearth, a timber platform and finds including lithics and a wooden ‘paddle’.

Image courtesy of Bamburgh Research Project.

Related to the ongoing project, the project blog includes some great reports on archaeological and palaeo-botanical scientific techniques being deployed — there are some excellent videos too. Two such updates, on what phytoliths are and what they can tell us, have been published in the last week:

Archaeological Science at Bradford Kaims | Phytoliths:

Both are informative and well worth a read.

Spence

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.”

Spence

Schools Prehistory | Museums displaying prehistoric artefacts

◊ Dear Microburins,

My friend Kim Biddulph at Schools Prehistory is compiling a list of museums whose displays (and resources for children) include items from the Stone Age to Iron Age. I’ve sent details of some North Yorkshire and North-east museums not currently on the list:

  • Ryedale_IAhut2Palace Green Library, Durham City
    A new gallery tells the 10,000 year story of Durham from the ice age to modern times.
  • Museum of Hartlepool, Jackson Dock, Hartlepool
  • Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole, North Yorkshire
    Displays Include antiquarian flints and stone axes, extra-ordinary finds from the “Windy Pits” and a waterlogged Iron Age Settlement. There’s a fantastic reconstructed Iron Age round house and some rare breed livestock.
  • Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Borough Road, Sunderland
  • Swaledale Museum, Reeth, North Yorkshire OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    This small yet fascinating museum includes stone age flint and chert tools dating back to the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods (Tim Laurie collection).
  • Wensleydale, Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes, North Yorkshire
    Includes flint tools that likely date back to the late Glacial Upper Palaeolithic (13,000 years ago) discovered in Wensleydale (Tim Laurie collection).
  • Whitby Museum and Art Gallery, Pannet Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire Fylingdales
    The museum is an amazing place to visit and still retains its eclectic Victorian “collectors” atmosphere. There are stone age flint tools as well as Bronze Age pottery and bronze artefacts. A replica of the decorated Neolithic stone discovered after fires on Fylingdales Moor sits alongside finds excavated in the early 20th century at Roman signal towers along the Yorkshire coast.

Neolithic stone from Fylingdales Moor | Credit: Graham Lee, North York Moors National Park Authority.

If you have other suggestions (and you can include images with permissions), please contact Kim and the team using the form on this web page »

About Schools Prehistory

Schools Prehistory was set up in 2013 by a group of archaeologists and educators to help teachers and heritage educators get ready for the prehistory element of the new primary history curriculum at Key Stage 2 in England. They are available for consultancy, to run training or workshops in schools and museums. They also sell information booklets designed for the non-specialist on their website—more lesson plans and supporting resources will be coming soon. They are also developing good quality replica object-handling boxes for sale. Keep up to date with what’s happening on their blog »

  • Read about the introduction of prehistory into the English national curriculum in Kim’s article published in the Teesside Archaeological Society BULLETIN 19 (2014–15, pp 37–41) » PDF extract

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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!

Spence

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.

Spence

Swifterbant Stones | Two whopping volumes and a lithic analysis framework

◊ Dear Microburins,

SwifterbantIt’s big, it’s two whopping volumes, it’s got a full lithic typology and analysis protocol (vol 1 appendix) — we’re liking that already.

Swifterbant Stones: The Neolithic Stone and Flint Industry at Swifterbant (The Netherlands) by Izabel Devriendt (Groningen 2014).

“In this research the stone and flint artefacts of the site Swifterbant are analysed. Attention is focussed on the Neolithic occupation phase of the prehistoric creek system (c. 4300 – 4000 cal BC) where archaeological traces were found on several levee and river dune sites. This study shows that there is a larger variability in site types than originally presumed. It is established that these sites are all part of one settlement system in which they all had a different function. This thesis comprises a monograph on the research history of the site and the different aspects of the lithic research such as typological analysis, technological attribute analysis, raw material analysis and use-wear analysis, in combination with a detailed inventory (catalogue). All this leads to new insights into the use of lithic artefacts. The importance of stone tool morphology, the selective gathering of stone tool blanks or the use of two different fl­int production sequences are but a few of these interesting aspects. Other topics concern tool function, mobility, raw material access and use, cultural markers and social identity. In combining the results from this research with that of other Swifterbant sites a better understanding of the different aspects of prehistoric stone and fl­int industries is gained.”

Oxbow Books > Swifterbant Stones

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