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Mesolithic houses in Yorkshire

4 December 2019

In Current Archaeology 358 (January 2020) we learn about the discovery of timbered houses in a Yorkshire quarry – at Killerby. They were preserved in peat – one set of timbers dating as far back as 10,000 years ago, and the other set of timbers, to somewhere between 6000 and 3000BC (no exact date at the moment). Peat forms in persistently wet climate – rainfall day after day as if the jet stream had got stuck overhead for year after year (and is known as podzolisation). Very wet episodes in climate as far as NW Europe are concerned are a feature of sudden switches in climate from warm to cold – sometimes lasting for a considerable time (a hundred years or more). This was a feature of climate in Britain in late 3rd millennium BC, towards the end of the 4th millennium, and the late 5th millennium, and especially around the end of the 7th millennium BC. It is associated with the aftermath of the 6200BC event, and the 2300BC event (and further events around 3200BC and 4150BC). The timbers were so well preserved in the anaerobic environment of the peat the marks of stone axes could be observed – used to trim and prepare the timbers. See also www.archaeologicalresearchservices.com/project/killerby-quarry/

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