British Mesolithic 8000-5000BC

Mainly Star Carr case study.

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  • British Mesolithic 8000-5000BC
    • Star Carr
      • Finds include-barbs, flint microliths and a wooden canoe paddle
        • Indication of a hunting ground?
          • Range of animal bones -variety of prey. Also includes dog/wolf bones-domestication, used for hunting?
        • Jadeite hand axe-votive offering?
          • Similar to hand axes found at other sites where they haven't been used.
            • Would take a long time to make, hence the votive offering idea-giving up something precious in offering.
        • Finds preserved due to waterlogged peat where they were found.
        • 195 'barbed points'
          • Between 8cm and 38cm.
            • Make up 95% of number found in British Mesolithic.
            • Have been deliberately broken-more votive offerings?
      • Red deer stag horn 'helmets'-21 of.
        • Finds include-barbs, flint microliths and a wooden canoe paddle
          • Indication of a hunting ground?
            • Range of animal bones -variety of prey. Also includes dog/wolf bones-domestication, used for hunting?
          • Jadeite hand axe-votive offering?
            • Similar to hand axes found at other sites where they haven't been used.
              • Would take a long time to make, hence the votive offering idea-giving up something precious in offering.
          • Finds preserved due to waterlogged peat where they were found.
          • 195 'barbed points'
            • Between 8cm and 38cm.
              • Make up 95% of number found in British Mesolithic.
              • Have been deliberately broken-more votive offerings?
        • Stalking disguise?
          • Seems unlikely as would be very uncomfortable and heavy, not really practical for hunting.
        • Shamanistic ritual?
          • Seems more plausible. Maybe they were dunked into what was lake Flixton/Pickering at the time?
            • Lake would have seemed like a boundary to them as can't see beneath it, can't swim. Liminal boundary. (Flag Fen linkage?)
          • Seem important anyway-used by chief shaman to lead a ceremony?
            • Seems more plausible. Maybe they were dunked into what was lake Flixton/Pickering at the time?
              • Lake would have seemed like a boundary to them as can't see beneath it, can't swim. Liminal boundary. (Flag Fen linkage?)
          • Two holes drilled in skull-to allow for ties?
      • Dated using varves in lake which trapped carbon-C14. 8750-8600BC.
      • Platform made of birchwood extends out into lake Flixton-perhaps used in ritualistic ceremony involving red deer antlers?
        • Shamanistic ritual?
          • Seem important anyway-used by chief shaman to lead a ceremony?
            • Two holes drilled in skull-to allow for ties?
        • Located in North Yorkshire
          • 8700BC
        • Evidence of structures.
          • Post holes, sunken area with concentration of flints, burning.
            • Posts roughly 20 cm diameter, 18 in total, indications that some of them had been replaced.
              • Can work out measurements from pipe holes and infill.
            • Charcoal residue.
              • From reed plants
                • Density indicates repeat burning.
                  • For some reason there was repeated, deliberate burning of reedswamp in front of site.
                    • 'Management'?
                  • Provide stratified sample of 20 C14 dates-site revisited multiple times with multiple burnings.
          • Estimated on size and finds that around 20-25 people could have lived here for around 3 months a year, for 25 years. (Original estimation by Clark)
            • Now estimated used for 250-300 years.
        • Diet made up mainly of red deer-parts of at least 80 carcasses.
          • No remains of fish-odd for a site located by a lake?
          • Most came from stags killed between November and April
            • Antlers still firmly fixed but grown, not shedding yet.
              • Ritualistic hunting?
              • Debated with the advances of technology-indicates summer months.
          • Could have been imported for antlers-not necessarily for meat.
      • Morton, Fife
        • Large middens-monuments?
        • No cemeteries-or at least not found, doesn't mean there aren't any.
        • Prevalence of excarnation.
        • Only 2,500-5,000 people in the whole of Britain at time.

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