UK Sites and Finds

UK Mesolithic Projects, Sites and Finds

See Mesolithic stories on scoop.it | Last updated 18-Jan-2014
Added | Hastings-Bexhill East Sussex

Overview

A selective list of recent Mesolithic projects, excavations and discoveries. Includes websites where available—not as many as you might hope for—and media coverage, often with “headline-catching” claims. Look out for “Atlantis“, “re-writing history” and battles over who is “the oldest”. Nevertheless, discoveries continue across developer-led, community and still some academic research projects and often prompt us to rethink some of our existing assumptions.

Links to national and regional British archaeological frameworks are also provided. These give extensive overviews of the archaeological background, historiography, assets and research agendas as well as useful bibliographies. Their benefit is to span most government and political boundaries. They contain both chronological surveys (and “transitions” between traditional epochs such as Mesolithic→Neolithic) as well as heritage, environmental and cross-period human activity themes.

If you have a suggestion to add, do send a message.

Sources

This list is compiled from Internet searches, heritage e-news (largely on Twitter #mesolithic, Facebook and syndicated news-feeds such as Past Horizons and Heritage Daily—see Stuff to Watch for links to the most popular, online media and local knowledge. Academic articles and monographs seldom include accessible Internet URLs or websites suitable for a general interest readership.

I also recommend subscribing to Mesolithic Miscellany website | Facebook. Subscribers to institutions such as the Prehistoric Society (PAST magazine) and Antiquity will have access to regular news updates too.

National and Regional Archaeological Research Frameworks

Atlantic Litorale

  • Coastal shell middens and agricultural origins in Atlantic Europe
    Nicky Milner, Geoff Bailey, Oliver Craig, Naomi Belshaw, Eva Laurie | Archaeology Data Service (ADS) archive, University of York
    Project 2002-5 | aimed to examine the role of marine resources and especially shellfish in the diet and economy of prehistoric hunters and gatherers living in Northwest Europe between about 8000 and 5000 years ago and the influence of these patterns on the spread and adoption of agriculture after about 5000 years ago

England

  • Amesbury, Wiltshire
    Excavations at Vespasian’s Camp nr Stonehenge uncover over 12,000 Mesolithic flints, an aurochs tooth (6250 Cal BC) and boar’s tusk. Museum display in prep (2013) | BBC News Online 19-Apr-2013 | More 2013 excavation season news will follow | 2013 pictures, SciTech summary Oct-2013 “frogs legs”
  • Asfordby, Leicestershire
    Excavation of Deepcar type lithic scatter | Website
  • Bletchingley, North Park Quarry Farm, Surrey
    Large scale excavation (2005-6) revealed in situ flints, pits, hearths and activity areas | Website
  • Bouldnor Cliff, Isle of Wight
    Submerged landscape and settlement in the Solent, partly published, ongoing project | Website | BBC News 2012 with video
  • Bradford Kaims, Northumberland
    Wetland area with Neolithic burnt mounds and late Mesolithic evidence emerging | Blogsite news
  • Bridgwater, Somerset
    Open-air cemetery, re-examination of historical finds (the only other British “cemetery” is Aveline’s Hole, Somerset) | BBC News 2011
  • Culverwell, Portland Bill, Dorset
    Discovered in 1966 and excavated by Susann Palmer, this is not a “new” discovery. However, excavations continue in the area and may reveal more Mesolithic activity (2013) | Excavations announcement 2013
  • Didcot, Oxfordshire
    Mesolithic flints and multi-period settlement in wake of building development (Oxford Archaeology) | Oxford Times 22-Jan-13 | BBC News 2013
  • Doggerland, North Sea
    Published palaeo-environmental project mapping the land inundated by the North Sea up to c. 6100 BC | Website
  • Hastings-Bexhill, East Sussex
    2012-14 work on the link road have revealed prehistoric activity from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic onwards | BBC News 18-Jan-2014 (Oxford Archaeology)
  • Howick, Northumberland
    Completed and published excavation of Late Mesolithic house with radiocarbon sequence (cf East Barns and Echline, Scotland) | Website
  • Low Hauxley, Druridge Bay, Northumberland | Evidence for later Mesolithic settlement and tsunami deposits from c. 6100BC Stregga slide event, as well as Beaker period burial cairn | BBC Look North 21-Aug-13
  • Morecambe Bay, Kents Bank Cavern, Lancashire | Epi-Palaeolithic fragment of human leg bone radiocarbon dated to just over 10,000 years old. This is the earliest known human bone from northern Britain, following the retreat of the polar conditions of the last Ice Age.
  • North East Yorkshire Mesolithic Project
    Final phase 3, 2013 | Landscape project with trial excavations, website includes downloadable booklet and lithic fact sheets | PastHorizons article Dec 2012 | Whitby Gazette, Yorkshire Post | Mar 2013 Goldsborough Dig article Whitby Gazette
  • Sefton, Merseyside | BBC with video | Guardian
    Excavation with shelter and lithics | Media coverage Nov 2012
  • Stainton West, Carlisle, Cumbria
    Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR)
    Developer-funded excavation by Oxford Archaeology North with >300K Late Mesolithic lithics (5,750 microliths), hearths, stake holes, beaver dam | Post-excavation project webpage
  • Severn Estuary | extending from human and animal footprints preserved in mud at Goldcliff East, Martin Bell (University of Reading) heads a project to recover artefactual and environmental evidence ahead of the construction of the Severn barrage. The barrage will artificially raise water levels and so the archaeology is at risk of silting and erosion | BBC coverage 6-Jan-2013
  • Star Carr, Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire
    Ongoing wetland project with excavations directed by Prof Nicky Milner | Website
  • Swale-Ure Washlands Project, Vale of Mowbray, North Yorkshire
    Study of the fluvial, vegetational and landscape evolution and the impact of human activity around two North Yorkshire rivers during the later post-glacial (Holocene) period—13,000 years (Durham University Geography Department and consortium | Website and booklet (2004)
  • Thames Foreshore, Vauxhall, London
    Lithics and organic remains near MI6 HQ | Blog and video 2009

Scotland

Wales

  • Maerdy Wind Farm, Rhondda Valley | 6,270 year old decorated timber “marker”, late Mesolithic or early Neolithic
  • Mesolithic Wales overview | Nab Head, Pembrokeshire; Trwyn Du, Anglesey; Burry Holms, Gower; submerged forests; the Lydstep pig (legacy find); human; and animal footprints (e.g. Goldcliff East, published, filmed by Time Team)
  • Monmouth
    Developer-funded excavation, Late Mesolithic lithics | Media coverage 2010

REP Ireland AND NORTHERN IRELAND

  • Irish Archaeology | Web-based articles and papers including Mesolithic
  • Dublin | Late Mesolithic fish trap discovered at Victoria Quay | Journal.ie news item (19-Jul-2013)
  • Londonderry | Very early excavated Neolithic settlement that has been under analysis for a decade. Finds to go on show at the Tower Museum. | Belfast Telegraph Feb 2013
  • Mount Sandel | University College Dublin to reconstruct Mesolithic house (off-site) | Blog

Channel Islands

  • No recent projects or national media coverage found

Picture credits: hans s | Foter | Creative Commons 2.0

One thought on “UK Sites and Finds

  1. Now a long time ago, reporting of the so-called “Pilling Elk” with associated harpoon points gave a fascinating keyhole into Mesolithic hunting technology. To handle scapula of great Irish elk and see. the perfect fit of the barbed point in the damaged area of bone put an end to previous interpretation of antler barbed harpoon heads being used in pairs as fish spears. Use of light javelins against such large prey raised questions of spear throwing tools. Published by B.J.N. Edwards and others in the early 1970′s, perhaps this discovery is worth resurrecting? I certainly never looked on the shadowy Mesolithic with the same eyes as before. Keep up the good work, this period will have to be rewritten several more times. Also look at the rock art of Alta and elsewhere on the west Scandinavian littoral, apparently ignored by UK archaeologists.

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