New publications on the Mesolithic by York prehistorians

Posted on 3 May 2019

Staff members Robson, Knight, Milner and Little co-author several new publications

Modified red deer crania that were discovered during the 2013-2015 field seasons at Star Carr (credit: Elliot et al. 2019)

Staff members Robson, Knight, Milner and Little co-author several new publications in a conference proceedings, titled, Working at the sharp end at Hohen Viecheln: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe
 
The article titles and abstracts are as follows:
 
Robson, H. K. and Ritchie, K. (2019). The Early Mesolithic fisheries of Southern Scandinavia. In Groß, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. and Jantzen, D. (Eds.), Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum 10: Kiel/Hamburg.
 
Abstract: Southern Scandinavian Mesolithic research has one of the longest traditions within archaeology, dating back to the 1820s and 1830s. However, a combination of site visibility and an emphasis on the MesolithicNeolithic transition has meant that research has primarily been directed towards the Late Mesolithic Ertebølle culture (c. 5400–4000 cal. BC) at the expense of the Early Mesolithic Maglemose culture (c. 9600–6400 cal. BC). Whilst fishing during the Ertebølle culture is well studied (Enghoff 2011; Ritchie 2010), fishing during the Early Mesolithic is rarely discussed in any detail. In this contribution we attempt to rectify this imbalance by collating all readily available data on fish remains and related technologies within the literature. Although our primary focus is the Early Mesolithic Maglemose culture of Southern Scandinavia, an area encompassing Denmark, Scania in Sweden and Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany, we draw on contemporaneous sites within the broader region to provide a more nuanced picture of the exploitation of this important resource, fish.
 
Elliott, B., Taylor, B., Knight, B., Milner, N., Robson, H. K., Pomstra, D., Little, A. and Conneller, C. (2019). Bones and Antler from Star Carr. In Groß, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. and Jantzen, D. (Eds.), Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum 10: Kiel/Hamburg.
 
Abstract: This paper comments on the bone and antler assemblages excavated from the Early Preboreal site of Star Carr (North Yorkshire, United Kingdom) between 2004 and 2015. It examines the spatial distribution of osseous material across the site, and discusses the various depositional processes which have led to their accumulation. As a previously excavated site, the published literature surrounding Star Carr has presented challenges for the traditional categories of animal bones, artefacts and osseous manufacturing waste. This paper uses some of the most high-profile finds from Star Carr, the red deer antler frontlets, as a case study for the examination of these tensions, and details the ways in which the most recent excavations required a reappraisal of the categorisation of these artefacts in light of new finds, technological analysis, and experimental replication.
 
Taylor, B., Milner, N. and Conneller, C. (2019). Excavations at Star Carr: past and present. In Groß, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. and Jantzen, D. (Eds.), Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe. Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum 10: Kiel/Hamburg.
 
Abstract: Star Carr is a world renowned site first excavated in the late 1940s by Grahame Clark. These excavations revealed organic remains which are incredibly rare, though there are some parallels with sites in Germany and Denmark. The evidence from Star Carr has been debated over the decades, but in 2004 new excavations commenced with the aim of answering some of the questions which had been posed about this important Mesolithic site. One of the alarming discoveries was that the site had deteriorated badly. However, some organic materials remained, though in a very fragile condition. Some of the most spectacular of these are large wooden platforms which had been constructed on what would have been the margins of the lake. In addition, ‘house’ structures were discovered for the first time on the dry land. With a scientific programme including Bayesian modelling and environmental sampling it has been possible for the first time to construct a picture of life in the Mesolithic at Star Carr through time (Milner et al. 2018a; b).
 
The publications can be downloaded for FREE from this link.
 
Image: Modified red deer crania that were discovered during the 2013-2015 field seasons at Star Carr (credit: Elliot et al. 2019)