Neolithic House in Yorkshire

15 Aug 2010

The Independent August 11th ... archaeologoists have found a house dating back 11,000 years ago, at Star Carr in North Yorkshire, constructed by Mesolithic hunter gatherers. It is circular in design with 18 post holes, indicating a well built permanent structure. The site itself appears to have been used, at least partly so, for religious - or ritual activity. This is the sort of umbrella term to describe non-domestic human activity. At the same site, back in 1950, archaeologists discovered head dresses made of modified deer skulls and antlers, and various beads made of shale, amber, or the teeth of deer. In the early post YD era Star Carr was situated at the side of a lake and recent investigations have uncovered a well built wooden platform from which items may have been offered to the waters, a typical 'ritualistic' explanation. Why not a landing stage for boats? Current and previous excvavations at Star Carr have revealed the inhabitants used boats - a wooden paddle was found. It is known they hunted red deer, roe deer, elk, auroch, beaver, wild boar, badger, hare and even pine martens, as their bones have been found as refuse.

The discovery of a substantial house may change the views of archaeologists about the Mesolithic period. People, it seems, were living at permanent, or seasonal settlements as early as 9200-8500BC, whereas previously it had been assumed they were largely nomadic. It may be that we should visualise the Mesolithic people as responsible for the later surge in megalithic architecture, rather than the idea of agricultural immigrants bringing with them the idea of tombs, if that is what they were. At Bouldor on the Isle of Wight, Mesolithic people had a boatyard as early as 6500BC, and in the car park at Stonehenge a line of massive posts has been dated to around 7000BC.