Projects Overview

hills, dales, rivers, lakes | stone footprints

I’m currently working on these projects that relate to understanding the Late Mesolithic period in north-east Yorkshire. The results will be passed back to the North East Yorkshire Mesolithic Project. Populating the Mesolithic is more than drawings of flints and tables of artefacts—it’s about trying to understand the lifestyles of our ancient ancestors, their changing environment, their challenges, their activities, their motivations, their beliefs, their behaviours, their contacts. All of this needs evidence to furnish hypotheses, testable models, and demand better evidence.

White Gill, Westerdale, North York Moors

“Congrats on an exquisitely presented report! Wowee! Top stuff!”
– Dr Alison Sheridan | President of The Prehistoric Society, Head of Early Prehistory at National Museums of Scotland

I know I’m name-dropping | sorry

White Gill ProjectRescue excavation of a Late Mesolithic activity area in July 2000. There’s much still to do: biological and species analysis of samples from the hearths; radiocarbon (AMS) dating of carbonized material; artist reconstructions; and comparative studies of similar finds in the same area—from when England was still joined to, but separating from, continental Europe.

Once writing-up is complete, the desire is to produce a Mesolithic Walking Trail guide that weaves together the beauty of today’s landscape with the ancient history that’s underfoot using imaginative visualizations and a biography of the things—the few tantalising pieces of complex lives—that our ancestors left behind.

River Dove, North Yorkshire

River Dove ProjectPlugging the gaps between Mesolithic activity and flint assemblages of the high moors, ancient forests, and the Vale of Pickering wetlands, ancient lakes and islands. The aim is to map seasonal transit routes and perhaps evidence for different activities through a river valley that cuts through the beautiful escarpments of the tabular hills of the North York Moors.

Under the theme Nine Thousand Years of Hunting, field-walking at Lowna, Gillamoor produced interesting finds and distributions in a river-side location including evidence for activity from the Late (and maybe early) Mesolithic, into the Neolithic—flint scrapers, knapping cores, a tranchet adze, polished whetstone—and definately later by way of a musket gunflint and clay pipe (1730–1770 AD) from the last three hundred years that could well have belonged to the current farmer’s named ancestors! The aim into 2013 is to extend field-walking southwards into the Vale of Pickering.

Dear Spencer
Thank you so much for reporting back to us on your finds in our fields. We love to build a picture of what it was like, but usually only going back 250 years or so (about as long as David’s ancestors have been at Lowna – since at least 1790). It really starts to elongate the picture! You certainly had a lovely day last Thursday – the last good day we’ve had; things are a lot wetter now. We will certainly be interested in reading your report and seeing any photographs, and look forward to that.
Best wishes
Ruth Wass

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