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6000BC and all that

6 November 2023
Archaeology, Catastrophism

The 6200-600BC event was pivotal moment in history as it prompted some significance migrations around the world. Afterwards, early farmers arrived in the Balkans and gradually migrated into what is now Bulgaria and Moldavia. In the  latest issue of Current Archaeology 405 page 11 [see https://www.archaeology.co.uk … we learn of a lake dwelling site that has been unearthed at Lake Ohrid in what is now the border region of Albania. It was occupied for around 1000 years, from 5,900 BC onwards.

However, back in Blighty, Blick Mead, a Mesolithic site, not far from where Stonehenge was later constructed, continues to be the subject of archaeological investigation. Some interesting finds have accumulated including thousands of flint tools used by pre-farming people. See Current Archaeology issue 390 [2022] pages 28-31, ‘Life Before Stonehenge’ which is probably available at https://www.archaeology.co.uk … It seems it was a gathering and feasting place – but what was the occasion? What were they celebrating?

The area was first occupied around 9160BC, we are told, and carried on as a seasonal gathering place until as late as 3600BC – or perhaps as late as the Piora Oscillation. It therefore overlapped with the arrival of the first farmers in Britain, around 4250BC – or possibly a little earlier. Blick Mead therefore existed before and after the 6200BC event. This included the drowning of the North Sea basin. Why were these celebrations, feasting on wild aurochs, such a long lasting tradition? The same thing seems to occur in cultures elsewhere around the world, and the choice of meat was very often a prominently horned animal. More importantly, why did these blips in climate, with evidence of landscape fire, hasten migratory episodes across not just Europe but many other parts of the world. Once they reached Britain they had nowhere else to go – but it didn’t stop other groups turning up, such as the Beaker folk.

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