Crimdon Dene beck towards the sea | Creative Commons 2.0 License
School kids have come across human skeletal remains revealed by coastal erosion at Crimdon Dene near Hartlepool, north-east England. As a crouched burial, assuming it is a burial, could it be prehistoric? Bronze Age? Or even older? Evidence for Mesolithic burial in the UK, for example, is virtually non-existent outside Somerset and the odd finger in Scottish shell middens, unlike Denmark and Scandinavia.
There are some challenges too. How do you investigate such a find in a highly unstable environment like sand dunes? I’m sure there’s more news to follow from Tees Archaeology. Crimdon Dene¹ is also known for extensive Mesolithic flint scatters discovered in the 1940s. Filpoke Beacon², 1.25km north, produced one of the earliest Late Mesolithic radiocarbon dates for geometric narrow blade microliths: 8760 +/- 140 BP³ (Q-1474) based on carbonized hazelnut shells. A submerged forest sits off the coast south of Hartlepool and has revealed Late Mesolithic and Neolithic evidence including flints and a possible fish weir (see Tees Archaeology’s monograph).
Bronze Age burials, albeit in stone cists, were discovered in the vicinity of the Mesolithic house at Howick, Northumberland Coast. I know where my money’s going—but dreams at least are free!
¹ Young, R. 2007. ‘I must go down to the sea again…’ A Review of Early Research on the ‘Coastal’ Mesolithic of North-East England, in Waddington, C. & Pedersen, K (eds). Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin and Beyond. Oxford: Oxbow. ² Jacobi, R. 1976. Britain Inside and Outside Mesolithic Europe. Proc Preh Soc 42: 67-84. ³ Before Present (1950), hazelnut shells are more reliable for aging than timber because they are shorter lived—”old wood” can itself be hundreds of years old before burning.
November Stockton buildings & history day school| York Archaeology 2012 conference
History of British Pottery exhibition opens at Hartlepool – including local finds from the Bronze Age to Medieval
Register interest for the new Ure-Swale Archaeology Forum (USAF) | visit the Bronzeexhibition at the British Academy of Arts in London – a chance to see the Crosby Garrett Roman Parade Helmet (otherwise held in an anonymous private collection)
Loftus Excavation latest news – more Romans in over 5,000 years of north-east heritage – Neolithic mortuary structures, Bronze Age ritual monuments and settlements, an Iron Age village and salt working, now a Romano-British chieftain’s farm with jet working, Anglo-Saxon settlement, cemeteries and a Princess’s bed burial with jewels galore! | What next?
Love the rich, distinctive heritage of north-east England
We are… North Yorkshire’s oldest national park, 554 square miles of magical moorland, ancient woodland, distinctive dales and historic sites, including 26 miles of stunning coastline, all easily reached from York, Teesside and County Durham. Read about our work here, and then pay us a visit – you can’t miss us, we’re the moors north of York!