Join Microburin at Mesolithic Flixton Open Day? 23 August 2014

KIP14_T5_RWDear Microburins,

Having finished digging at Kiplin Hall, a quick trip south, I’m back in Yorkshire and looking forward to meeting friends – new, old and social mediaries – on Saturday 23 August at the Flixton Island mesolithic party-in-the-peat open day, hopefully arriving around 9am. Sunday is an open day too. Details follow below »

Kiplin, where I was supervising and training volunteers with two lovely colleagues for three weeks, was a splendid, friendly HLF-funded project with fantastic archaeology that spanned several thousand years in finds: KIP14_Lithic21scarsMesolithic chert (and a microlith!) to 17th-century musket balls, WWII bullet cases and a 1964-dated pigeon ring which we can trace. I’ll write more in a future post.

A Mesolithic chert core tablet from Kiplin test pits.

Stone Age Open Days – Flixton Island Mesolithic Site near Scarborough, 23rd and 24th August

Walk back 12,000 years to the end of the last Ice Age. See the latest excavations and finds, and quiz the expert archaeologists about life in the past.

Come along and learn about excavations of the Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites from 12,000 to 11,000 years ago that once existed on an island in the now vanished Lake Flixton.

FREE site tours will take place on both days at 10.00am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm. Tours will last around 30 minutes.

On the Saturday, Tim Burkinshaw @CarrsWetland from The Carrs Wetland Project will lead tours at 11.00am and 1.30pm around the wetland landscape looking for clues to the shrinking peat and explaining how local farmers are helping to protect the heritage of the floodplain with its wildlife.

There will be opportunities to see some of the recent finds and talk to the experts about what they tell us about life at the end of the Ice Age.

Visit the bookstall where you can buy the small booklet (£2) or the illustrated book (£13) about the famous nearby site of Star Carr and the Mesolithic sites around Lake Flixton. All profits go towards further public events.

Artist Ruth Collett will be on site on Sunday afternoon to talk about her work interpreting the excavation in film and sculpture.

Getting to the site

Travelling from York, take the A64 to Staxton, then take the A1039 towards Filey. When you get to the village of Flixton, take the left hand turn down Flixton Carr Lane (if you reach the Foxhound Pub, you’ve travelled too far through Flixton village). Parking is available in a nearby field. For safety reasons, please park there and take the short walk to the site rather than driving up to the site huts.

More info |


Bits of Old Stone | Lithics workshops for Community Projects


This gallery contains 14 photos.

Dear Microburins, This is the third post in a trilogy reflecting recent activities. This one really makes me pinch myself to realise just two-and-a-bit years ago I was stepping away from a career as a senior manager at Cisco Systems … Continue reading

A flair for imperfections | Can we see Mesolithic kids?

Keywords | Mesolithic, Stone age, Stone tools, Lithics, Children, Apprentice


A good article on PHYS.ORG by Karen Anne Okstad (15-Apr-2013) on one of my favourite subjects: childhood and apprenticeship in the Mesolithic—if not throughout prehistory.

“To most people, a useless flint axe is just that. To archaeologist Sigrid Alræk Dugstad (University of Stavanger), it is a source of information about Stone Age children.”

Read the article » |

Suggested Reading

If you like the subject (and gender issues too), also read:
  • Ferguson, J. 2008. The when, where, and how of novices in craft production. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15(1), 51–67.
  • Finlay, N. 2008. Blank Concerns: Issues of Skill and Consistency in the Replication of Scottish Later Mesolithic Blades. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 15(1), 68–90.
  • Ingold, T. 1993. Technology, Language, Intelligence: a consideration of basic concepts. In K. Gibsen and T. Ingold (eds), Tools Language and Cognition in Human Evolution, 449–472. Cambridge: University Press.
  • Johansen, L. and Stapert, D. 2005. Stone Age Kids and their Stones. In M. Sørensen and P. Desrosiers (eds), Technology in Archaeology. Proceedings of the SILA Workshop. Publishing from the National Museum Studies in Archaeology and History Vol. 14. Copenhagen.
  • Kamp, K.A. 2001. Where Have All the Children Gone?: The Archaeology of Childhood. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 8(1), 1–34.
  • Moore, J. and Scott, E. (eds). 1997. Invisible people and processes : writing gender and childhood into European archaeology. London; New York: Leicester University Press.
  • Sternke, F. 2005. All are not hunters that knap the stone – a search for a woman’s touch in Mesolithic stone tool production. In N. Milner and P. Woodman (eds), Mesolithic studies at the beginning of the 21st century, 144–163. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Sternke, F. and Sørensen, M. 2009. The Identification of Children’s flint knapping products in Mesolithic Scandinavia. In S. McCartan, R. Schulting, G. Warren and P. Woodman (eds), Mesolithic Horizons, 722–729. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past


Image credit: hans s | Foter | CC BY-ND

Very early Neolithic site | Londonderry N Ireland

derryLondonderry | Very early excavated Neolithic settlement that has been under analysis for a decade. Finds to go on show at the Tower Museum.

“A 6,000-year-old Stone Age village excavated in Londonderry has been heralded as being of global significance. The settlement is seen as of world importance as it is only the second of its type found in Ireland and is unique in the range of activities found to have been carried out there…”

» Belfast Telegraph 21 Feb 2013 | More UK Mesolithic sites & finds


Guest post | Mesolithic musings & the Howick home | Museums at risk

Dear microburins,

Photo Peter Robinson CC2.0

The “vertical pier” now Redcar Beacon | Photo Peter Robinson CC2.0

There aren’t many of us who blog about the Mesolithic, even fewer in north-east England. Here’s the latest read by These Bones of Mine (click to read) that calls out the pain and challenges of reduced heritage funding in the north-east. Heritage—sites, monuments, natural beauty, great museums, community projects—draw visitors and tourists who spend cash in the region. Most of our museums are free. There’s perhaps no fair balance between austerity and the need for inward investment (i.e. tourism and foot-fall generation), but many of us feel the knee has jerked too far in the wrong direction.

Economic recovery needs growth; growth needs nurturing and investment rather than continuous attrition? Social cohesion, a sense of belonging, societal participation and pride, “skin in the game” also require imaginative cultural and educational investment. So, for example, there are no museum-based archaeologists in the Tees area any more and two borough councils have no archaeological service whatsoever—including the one where the Saxon jewels and Roman villa were recently discovered. Ironic? They decided to spend tax-payers’ money on a “vertical pier”. Controversial?

Saxon JewelPerhaps there’s a sense of inevitability in a political climate where invasive development takes precedence over cultural asset management, social sciences and history are being side-lined in the curriculum, libraries are seen as liabilities, and heritage services are still being closed (Southampton is the latest)?


World Ends | Mesolithic dreamscape | Northern lights

Dear microburins,

Northern LightsWith the world ending today (21-Dec), and my perennial procrastination around lithic assemblage analysis (I promise 2013 would be better if it weren’t all ending today!) I wonder what our Mesolithic forebears made of this? How do you spin a story about green and purple lights for 6,000+ years if not 700 thousand years and more? What part of your social psyche does it re-enforce or challenge?

A Mesolithic child buried on a swan’s wing (Denmark)?