The Early Lateness of Being | Mesolithic pit house at Ronaldsway Isle of Man

OAN_Ronaldsway◊ Dear Microburins,

The folks at Oxford Archaeology North have just offered us a hint of a spectacular Mesolithic find at Ronaldsway airport, Isle of Man, excavated in 2009—and during night shifts due to this being an airport. Some of you may have had the pleasure of lectures by Microburin friends Fraser Brown and Antony ‘Dick’ Dickson. This discovery is named Cass ny Hawin II since a similar structure was excavated by Peter Woodman in the 1980s.

A 7m diameter pit hut with a hazel floor included lithics of a ‘narrow blade’ (later Mesolithic) technology. Radiocarbon determinations suggest activity around 8200-7950 cal BC, and so this is a very early ‘Late Mesolithic’ occupation. The dates, and nature of the evidence, are comparable with structures recently discovered at Low Hauxley¹ and Howick on today’s Northumberland coast, similar structures at East Barns and Echline in southern Scotland, and hints of something similar (but early 20th-century excavations in sand dunes) on the south Durham Coast at Crimdon Dene.

¹ Full publication anticipated later in 2016 by Archaeological Research Services Ltd.

Some archaeologists posit that these provide evidence for an immigration, or movement of ‘refugees’, from the drowning Doggerland landmass, inundated by the North Sea through the eighth to seventh millennium BC.

Spence

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