Mesolithic archaeology surviving in wetlands (bogs) is an increasingly rare resource, as evidenced in the rapidly deteriorating—drying and acidifying—remains at Star Carr since the original excavations in the 1940-50s.
Star Carr, North Yorkshire | Image comparison between 1950 and 2010 showing shrinkage of the peat due to land drainage. Source: StoneAgeBogs website.
The StoneAgeBogs group has been established
“with the intention of bringing together specialists who work on bog sites across Europe to discuss cutting-edge scientific methodologies and to evaluate the threats to this valuable cultural resource with a view to future action and collaboration.”
The website includes useful illustrated summaries and references for the most important sites across northern Europe and western Russia:
More UK sites and finds in the media »
Mesolithic Miscellany website »
◊ Cramond in the Mesolithic era | Open Virtual Worlds in association with the Cramond Association and Cramond Heritage Trust | 11-Apr-2016 (Oct-2015 Vimeo) 5min
Val Dean talks about Cramond (near Edinburgh) in the Mesolithic era (c.10,000 – 4500 BC), exploring what life was like for the population at this time; what people ate, how they lived, the tools they used and what traces remain for archaeologists to explore.
Press-released on 26 February by the University of York, you’ll likely have seen the news about the Star Carr Mesolithic engraved shale pendant. The usual mix of media headlines—from secret codes to shamanism—perhaps mask the incredible scientific analyses which are presented in the open-access Internet Archaeology academic article, including the archaeological context, a suite of images (with 3D), analysis techniques, and an assessment of comparable engravings from UK and European finds.
Image: Dr Harry Robson, Department of Archaeology, University of York.
◊ 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.
◊ Dear Microburins,
The University of Reading today issued a press release on exciting Late Glacial finds and geo-archaeological evidence from Islay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Trial excavations in 2013 have, literally, just scratched the surface.
“The archaeologists are grateful to the game-keeper who came across the Mesolithic objects after the pigs, who were released on Islay to reduce bracken, unearthed them, and thankful to the resident who knew of the earlier work the Reading team had conducted on the island, and tipped the researchers off.
Several layers of volcanic ash were found at Rubha Port an t-Seilich coming from both above and below the stone artefacts. This has enabled the team to date them [Tephrochronology] at 12,000 years old, 3000 years older than any previous discovery on Islay.”
All praise to the JQS for being open-access too!
◊ Dear Microburins,
The UK Mesolithic Sites & Finds page has been updated with:
- East Islay Mesolithic Project | Storakaig and Rubha Port an t-Seilich Archaeological evaluation of new Mesolithic sites on Islay, western Scotland by Steven Mithen and Karen Wicks (Website and video).
The Mesolithic Videos page also now includes a new Youtube video:
- Mesolithic Arrow | Will Lord | 27-Sep-2015 Youtube (15min)
Watch master flint knapper and tool-maker Will Lord create a fletched Mesolithic arrowhead.
If you have other suggestions to add, with a webpage or press/media link, please get in touch.