Mesolithic Research and Conservation Framework for England

Mesolithic Research and Conservation Framework for England | 2012-13

HowickThe framework is designed to represent the state of Mesolithic research and understanding today, and to inform future decisions, be it in identifying significant museum collections, deploying resources in a developer-led context, or to ensure that  archaeological research deriving from all sectors has currency.

Developing a Mesolithic Research and Conservation Framework is an English Heritage funded project to update the archaeology community’s priorities for future research into the period. The three phases of the project comprise the resource assessment, research agenda and the research framework itself. The project is devised to be updated periodically, thus continued involvement from contributors to the website and documents are encouraged!

who are you | can you contribute?

Contributions are welcomed from anyone interested in the Mesolithic, be they private researchers, or commercial, curatorial or academic archaeologists | Project Manager: Ed Blinkhorn University of York | » Learn more

Please note that I am publicising this intiative and do not intend any expressed or implied vested interest. However, I do have a personal subject matter interest and so I do support it wholeheartedly.


5 thoughts on “Mesolithic Research and Conservation Framework for England

  1. What’s the basis for making a point top to this structure which is probably only known from post hole patterns? Are there any carvings or similar that show houses of this shape?
    I ask because similar post hole patterns are known from ethnographic structures here in western Canada, and they have flexible poles that are arched up and over the centre point and then down into the ground on the opposite side. Makes a domed roof that is very strong and simple to construct, rather like modern mountaineering tents.

    • Hi ehpem, I am not sure I agree with the “wigwam” shape based on post-hole footprints, personally. But then I have no evidence to disagree with it. Such footprints in the British Isles and Ireland are varied to say the least. Most modern visualisations focus on the domed, hide-covered, highly mobile interpretations, and many “sites” produce no marks at all…sometimes vague stake-hole patterns that defy reconstruction, and may even have been wind breaks, or for other purposes. The Howick experiment is decribed in Clive Waddington’s 2 volumes (published by Owbow, 2007) entitled “Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin and Beyond”. There’s also a really good summary of Scottish evidence in “Mesolithic Scotland and its Neighbours” edited by Alan Saville (published by Soc Antiquaries of Scotland, 2004). I think what archaeolgists agree on is that ethnographic examples are interesting, but may not explain specific archaeological evidence or variance and diversity. I think we also await interpretation of, and visualisations for Brtain’s “oldest house” at Star Carr. As always, features are ephemeral, tantalising! There are increasing numbers of post- and stake-hole patterns, but I doubt any agreement on what sat above ground. I am a believer in imagination, and the plausability that “anything could have been” (except pyramids or shopping malls 🙂

      Best, Spence

      • Thanks for the reply Spence. I think that the true value in ethnographic examples is that they are made by people that are actually living on the land, working with limited tools, surviving. The imaginations of us archaeologists (who grow up in a full blown industrial setting, living in the city, camping in high tech tents, or even working on and living in experimental reconstructions with a safety net over the horizon) need all the help they can get. The greater range of models we know well, the more likely we are to understand ephemeral stake patterns. Or in my case, having recently worked on a site with 10,700 year old preserved wood stakes (, how they may have been associated with one another.

    • Dear goodness, man, that is the BEST blog I have seen in years (ie yours). Why do you not contribute to Mesolithic Miscellany (facebook at the very least)?! See “Stuff to Watch” links on my pesky blog. I also like your style of writing and presentation. It is completely compelling. I’m trying “not to be mainstream” on my side, realising that mainstream is where I need to play from time-to-time. Every time I look closer at my local “stuff” (Yorkshire, England, no organic) the more intimate I become with 9k years ago. This intimacy is the richness you never read in a Journal article, though I aspire there too after twenty-odd years of being outside. But what you can see, even in a surface or dry assemblage tells stories about what people were doing (vs a flint typology table). What I read in your blog is such a richer story, unfolding. That, sir, is amazing. Best, Spence

      • Thanks Spence, that is very encouraging to hear. I almost never blog about archaeology, and my job keeps me in an office (I volunteer on my holiday time) so I normally have little to say about the subject. Mostly, its just a photo blog of my neighbourhood and the like, sometimes with words, and very rarely anything to do with archaeology at all. So, not a place for people to come looking for that kind of thing. But thanks for your kind words. I do poke around the wordpress archaeology blogs from time to time which is how I came upon yours.

        A good local (to me) blog, that is not very active right now, but which has a huge archive of interesting writing, can be found at – he has a ‘go to a random post’ button which is a good way to explore his blog.

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