Mesolithic Transitions Project receives research grant funding

Late Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherer Transitions at Esklets, Westerdale, North York Moors 5000-3800 BC

Despite the precarious situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m delighted, alongside colleagues, to have been awarded research funding by four esteemed organisations. We remain dependent on laboratories re-opening for the various analyses and radiocarbon AMS ageing activities involved.

About the project

The aim of this project is to reconstruct the cultural and environmental history at Esklets, on Westerdale Moor on the watershed plateau of the North York Moors in North Yorkshire, which is undergoing severe erosion of the blanket peat that covers the moors, exposing several ‘narrow-blade’ Late or Terminal Mesolithic activity areas (“sites”). These sites are under threat, and are being destroyed by erosion, by land management, by heavy use of adjacent footpaths and by unrecorded flint collecting by the public. The project is trying to research the sites through excavation and scientific analyses before they are destroyed. Several are already badly affected. Read more »

Activities include fine-resolution analysis of soil and peat sediments, with pollen analysis and sample extraction, at the University of Liverpool; radiocarbon aging of peat monoliths which include flint artefacts; use-wear analysis of flint artefacts at Southampton University. Grants, amounting to £2327 so far, have been awarded by:

  • Architectural & Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland (AASDN)
  • Association for Environmental Archaeologists (AEA)
  • Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
  • Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society (YAHS)

More news will follow as we begin to make progress through the autumn.


John D Hastings Music partners with Cleveland Archaeology Trust | Donate today!

Dear Followers,

We’re proud to have a fund-raising partnership with John D Hastings Music. You can help!

John D Hastings is a singer, songwriter, lyricist – a working-class lad from a small industrial town called Eston, North Yorkshire and proud of it.

The fundraising song, When It’s Gone was launched on World Environment Day in June 2020. Proceeds from the moving song, from as little as £2 or bigger song bundles, are being donated to Cleveland Archaeology Trust (CAT) for ongoing community work in the ICE AND FIRE rescue project which began in 2017. You can listen to a short taster on the song webpage.

Never in history have we needed to care more for our natural landscapes and promote CAT’s mission of “Connecting People With Place by promoting well-being, belonging and cultural value through sustainable Heritage and Archaeology.”

Eston Hills are being ravaged by arson attacks and damaged by vandals. John writes “I grew up there and community group Friends of Eston Hills bought the land back for future generations to enjoy. The senseless destruction of important heritage sites and natural beauty inspired me to write this song. I want to empower people to band together, stand up for their environment when it’s under threat. Let’s use music as a positive and non-violent way to drive out this brutal anti-social behaviour. Before it’s too late.”

Donations will help us:

  • Provide community engagement for all: kids, parents, schools, walkers, dog walkers and their dogs, cyclists and more
  • Do more to protect our landscape, to preserve it for future generations
  • Continue to explore, discover, rescue and repair before our heritage is lost
  • We will report back, and we will celebrate a unique part of Britain!
  • Everybody in any part of Britain and the world can get involved – that’s our partnership mission

Please help us spread the word! If you would like to donate a larger sum, please get in touch.

Kind Regards,

Spencer Carter (Spence)
Managing Director

There’s Still Life in Microburin | News on the way

Hello Followers,
It has indeed been a long time since the last post just over a year ago. The reasons are mixed, between on going medical challenges and being as busy as one can be in the circumstances. There’s definitely more news to follow through the winter season. However, I’m no longer curating the “Mesolithic News” info here — much better served by following Mesolithic Miscellany on Facebook and Twitter. Personal research is also better covered at TimeVista Archaeology, my professional web presence.

Highlights over the past year, and in progress, include:

  • Ongoing community project contributions and related publications
  • Establishing Cleveland Archaeology Trust as a Community Interest Company (CIC) registered with Companies House and with an independent financial account, pending final partnerships and more grant applications
  • Completion of the second round field evaluation at Airy Hill, East Cleveland, with spectacular results again this summer!
  • The honour of being elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
  • Pending chapters in forthcoming monographs for archaeology in North Yorkshire and NE England
  • Ongoing conference presentations of our community archaeology work on Teesside

I’ll send more news soon. Thanks for following and sharing the passion.


Cleveland Archaeology | News Update October 2018: Posters, Funding and Geofizz

Spencer Carter, Projects Co-Director, will present and talk about the ICE AND FIRE rescue archaeology project on Teesside’s Eston Hills, at the Palaeolithic & Mesolithic Conference being held at the British Museum, 25-6 October 2018.

Learn more about the project »

In the meantime, we have applied to Teesside Philanthropic Foundation for funding so that we can print more of the ICE AND FIRE 2018 Report booklet for distribution across schools and community outlets. Wish us luck!


We’re also delighted to have received the REAPING TIME geophysical survey report by Archaeological Services Durham University for the summer survey of more than 30ha as part of the initial Explore and Evaluate phase.

Learn more about the project »

The results are tremendously exciting and add much detail, as well as questions, to our observations of crop and soil marks from satellite and LiDAR (aerial laser) imagery. The report, in addition to the field-walking finds and surface observations, will influence our proposals for community engagement in 2019-20, subject to review and funding. Discussions will take place through November in the hope that we can kick-off more field-walking and finds processing in Spring 2019, followed by summer test pit excavations of selected features.

Thank you for reading — more news soon!

– Spencer
Cleveland Archaeology Project Team

Cleveland Archaeology | New parent website for community projects

◊ Dear Microburin Friends,

We’re delighted to launch our parent website, Cleveland Archaeology as a portal for active community archaeological projects being undertaken by TimeVista Archaeology and colleagues in the Teesside and Cleveland areas south of the River Tees, ceremonially north-east Yorkshire.

Our Cleveland projects are non-commercial and not-for-profit, funded with grants from the Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund as well as other charitable and philanthropic organisations. This site does not include projects being conducted by other voluntary or commercial groups.

The ICE AND FIRE website remains active and is linked from the parent site. We have a second community archaeology project in East Cleveland, REAPING TIME, which is in the first Explore and Evaluate phase of what we hope will be a multi-year adventure, alongside our work on the Eston Hills and elsewhere. While we await the results of a geophysical survey undertaken in August, there are already some great finds from field-walking. Community engagements are planned for Spring 2019, subject to more grant funding. It’s an extremely busy time!

We have created a consolidated contact form on the parent site where you can ask questions and register your interest in both outdoor fieldwork and indoor activities across our active projects.

OUR MISSION | Connecting People With Place by promoting well-being, belonging and cultural value through sustainable Heritage and Archaeology.


Summer art | Summer heat | ICE AND FIRE update

◊ Dear Microburin Friends,

Realising it’s too hot to move for many off us, here’s a summer update about our Teesside project written from the concrete-melting south. There’s plenty more news in the pipeline as we continue with grant-funding applications.

Hot weather, parched earth and a drone make for some very interesting possibilities.