Lock up your pets and grannies | Microburin’s on video

2014_SHBS_KirkvidAs if the world isn’t dangerous enough, @microburin is now on video – sounding alarmingly like Prince Harry – at Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar & Cleveland. The video introduces the Street House Before the Saxons exhibition which runs until July 2015. There are a few of my Mesolithic flint images (and text) on the info-boards too. MicrolithsThe Street House Farm archaeology project has been running since the 1980s under the directorship of Steve Sherlock, archaeologist extraordinaire and the chap currently responsible for the archaeological oversight of the A1(M) works between Leeming and Barton, including Roman Catterick CATARACTONIUM fort and town.

Street House, near Loftus in East Cleveland, has archaeological remains from at least the Neolithic − an early timber mortuary structure – through numerous Bronze Age burial mounds (and a wossit), an extensive Iron Age farming community who were probably making and selling salt, Romano-British canny folk who were manufacturing Whitby Jet objects like beads, spindle whorls and probably pins, with suggestions of continuity into the early post-Roman ‘dark ages’. There are also hints in the lithics of possible Later/Terminal Mesolithic activity, which is right up my street.

Of course, despite many thousands of years of human activity, Street House is probably best known for the Anglo-Saxon Royal Princess buried in a 7th-century AD cemetery, in her bed, with breathtaking jewels of gold and garnet, on permanent display. Do try visit both exhibitions—and peruse the Street House Roman phallus carving from the 2013 excavations?


Intertidal Prehistoric Peat Beds at Redcar in Cleveland | 2013 Observations

RPB13Stone axes on a Teesside beach

Intertidal peat beds—the “submerged offshore forest”—dating from the mid-Holocene (Later Mesolithic) are well known north of the Tees estuary (north-east England) near Hartlepool and Seaton Carew and attest to rising, or fluctuating, sea levels since the last glacial period 12,000 years ago.

The peat beds south of the Tees at Redcar are less well known and studied. They are infrequently revealed on the beach and span upward of two hectares but extend north and southwards from time to time. A rare opportunity to inspect them this year (July 2013) provided possible evidence for coppicing (or elevated copparding) and one tree stump (Birch – betula) displayed possible stone axe marks executed in a fashion characteristic of the period. Historical finds recorded in the regional Historical Environment Record (HER) are also briefly summarised in this report and include a stone axe (lost, see below), bone and antler faunal remains and flints observed and reported since the 1880s. The beds are now largely recovered by sand until the next opportunity to observe them.

The missing neolithic stone axe

The stone axe find itself, reported in the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette on 15 March 1986 by a dog-walking Mr A Johnson (also shown to the Dorman Museum) remains elusive—lost. I’ve written to the newspaper to see if a rediscovery is possible for proper recording in the Redcar & Cleveland HER database. Mr Johnson also reported a “strange jaw bone”.

Buy the book about hartlepool peat beds


Visit the Tees Archaeology Shop to buy the research monograph about the peat beds north of the Tees around Hartlepool.

Tees Archaeology Monograph Vol. 2:  Archaeology and Environment of Submerged Landscapes in Hartlepool Bay, England.

Mags Waughman (2005) | £15 (+ £6 p&p).


I am grateful to Francis Pryor and Maisie Taylor for commenting on the images.

More Info: Field Observations by Spencer Carter, July 2013
Summary report publication date: Oct 21, 2013 (Academia.edu)
Keywords: Wetland Archaeology, Mesolithic/Neolithic, Mesolithic Archaeology, Redcar

Please note that the peat beds north and south of the Tees are extremely fragile and protected by various legislation (e.g. SSSI). Please treat them with respect and report any observations or finds to the appropriate archaeological bodies. Where possible, leave things where they are and/or take photographs with a scale measure and make detailed notes and sketches about the context. We only ever have one chance, and this shared heritage belongs to all of us.

Regional Archaeological & Heritage bodies