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Mesolithic in the News

21 November 2012

Mesolithic people are now on the radar of archaeologists. Sidelined for decades they are now so popular Amazon have a very long list of books on the subject. Mesolithic dwellings, houses or huts or whatever you might call them, have been popping up in various parts of Britain – see for example www.champnews.com/newsstory.aspx?story=3032753 where they have been found near Sefton church, outside Liverpool, three of them, described as houses. Now, not so long ago the idea that hunter gatherers in Europe went around building houses would have been laughed out of court – and certainly would not have appeared in the more conservative archaeological organs. There is also another story, see www.scotsman.com/news/environment/archaeologists-unearth-stone-age-dwell… … a stone age dwelling that looks somewhat like a tepi, has attracted the artists impression. This one goes back to the very early Holocene period and was discovered in a field outside the village of Echline, near South Queensferry. In addition, it should be added, the dig turned up 1000 flint objects (tools, arrowheads etc) as well as large numbers of charred hazelnut shells. This is a prime favourite find at Mesolithic sites and it is a bit of a puzzle as to why there were so many hazels around at that time as nowadays we tend to think of it in terms of a hedgerow shrub, or the kind of thing found along paths and in clearings rather than flora associated with thick forest. Even the third millennium feasting activity at Durrington Walls involved large numbers of burnt and discarded hazelnut shells, and they pop up at every Mesolithic site so far investigated, or so it would seem. Another Mesolithic site further down the Forth, at Cramond near Edinburgh, is also known – and also dates to the early Holocene.

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