UK Mesolithic Sites and Finds | Recent updates

toadbootRecent updates to Microburin’s UK Mesolithic Sites and finds page and Microburin news aggregation webpage include:

  • Amesbury, Wiltshire | As the 2013 excavation season of this intriguing wetland site near Stonehenge continues, significant dietary evidence seems—according to press excitement—to include amphibians. But then the media hype this last week, suggesting the “English” ate frogs legs (or toads) before the French, needs some perspective, not least because we were still joined to continental Europe at the time! A partly charred leg bone in a fire hardly constitutes a “come dine with/on me” gastronomic venture? There are many reasons as to how such bones (or a single bone) could have arrived there—and unfortunately we have no human faeces (number twos) to examine. So for me this remains an intriguing but unprovable (if not terribly surprising) possibility—perhaps a leap of faith a little too far for now.

Now, anyone want crabapple chutney on their hedgehog burger? How’s your stoat kebab, Poika?

For an even more skeptical view, read Digital Digging’s blogpost (with a few well-considered profanities) »

  • Bletchingley, Surrey | 2005-06 excavation of extensive flint scatters, pits, hearths and activity areas.
  • Bradford Kaims, Northumberland | Ongoing excavations of an exciting wetland site with Neolithic burnt mounds, Late Mesolithic-into-Neolithic lithics and, this season, a wooden “paddle” that seems to date to the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition and may have been used for moving hot stones versus boating. Bradford Kaims is part of the crowd-funded Bamburgh Research Project.


Bradford Kaims Neolithic-Mesolithic wetland | Great new video from Bamburgh Research Project

Bradford Kaims is the latest venture of Bamburgh Research Project, working with the local community, volunteers and Universities to investigate a truly remarkable preserved ancient wetland site, located a few miles from Bamburgh, near the village of Lucker in Northumberland. The work has been supported by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.

BRP-BK-VideoThis latest short video, one of three, gives an idea of the great potential of the site but also the risks from water table fluctuations and drying—as always adding a sense of urgency to recovery before it’s too late.

“We were very fortunate to have Dr Richard Tipping, an expert in environmental sciences, out with a group of staff and volunteers. His knowledge is extensive and his enthusiasm was definitely infectious. There is something almost magical about preservation properties of peat and the ability of a real expert to read a core sample in the manner of an open book of environmental history.”

The extensive wetland that formed here in the Late Glacial period was a large lake system throughout the Holocene. Pollen and palaeo-environmental evidence recovered from deep auger cores spans the last 12,000 years. Many sites of archaeological interest are known in this area, from Mesolithic and Neolithic scatters, to Bronze Age cairns and votive deposits, Iron Age hillforts and Medieval villages.

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Final day at Low Hauxley | Rescued from the Mesolithic sea


This gallery contains 14 photos.

Dear microburins, I thought you might like to see the final pictures from Low Hauxley, Northumberland. The dig was a blast—an incredible, amusing and dedicated crew of volunteers, countless visitors and a community interest that reverberated around the Warkworth, Amble … Continue reading

Rescued from the sea | Excavations at Low Hauxley | Island of the dead? (video)

Updated 15-Aug with tsunami article

Click to watchAn ongoing rescue project is taking place in Northumberland where coastal erosion has revealed a Bronze Age “cemetery” burial cairn and evidence back to the Mesolithic. There are flints for sure but also antler and hundreds of preserved footprints in the peat beneath the present beach dated to over 7,000 years ago—adults, children and animals.

More media coverage is promised over the coming weeks, but here’s a great 8 minute video hosted by the inimitable Clive Waddington of Archaeological Research Services Ltd. This is a huge community project with more than 150 local volunteers and over 300 school children involved, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Newcastle University, UK Coal and The Leader Project. Clive is well-known for the excavations of a Mesolithic house at Howick, Northumberland—one of the earliest Late Mesolithic structures in Britain, occupied from about 7800 cal BC, repaired and rebuilt over many generations. Will they find similar at Low Hauxley?

Recommended Reading

  • Barton, R.N.E. & Roberts, A. 2004. The Mesolithic period in England: current perspectives and new research, in Saville (2004, 339-58).
  • Passmore, D.G. & Waddington, C. 2012. Archaeology and Environment in Northumberland: Till Tweed Studies, vol. 2 of 2. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Saville, A. (ed.) 2004. Mesolithic Scotland and its Neighbours. Edinburgh: Soc Antiquaries Scotland.
  • Waddington, C. (ed.) 2007. Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin, a Case Study from Howick, North-East England. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Waddington, C. & Pedersen, K. (eds) 2007. Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin and Beyond. Proceedings of a Conference held at Newcastle in 2003. Oxford: Oxbow.