New Experimental Campsite Receives its First Visitors

Posted on 18 November 2014

The Year Group’s Postglacial Experimental Archaeology Workshop

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The YEAR (York Experimental Archaeological Research) Group held a week-long workshop at the end of October at the Department of Archaeology’s new outdoor experimental archaeology workspace. Despite looking and feeling like a prehistoric campsite, nestled amongst a grove of protected trees adjacent to the lake, this new workspace is just one minute’s walk from BioArCh. As well as the fun of making stuff fireside, the purpose of this workshop was to gain valuable research data for the POSTGLACIAL Project.

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Replica objects, based on the archaeological evidence from Star Carr, were made and used by Diederik Pomstra – a visiting Dutch expert in prehistoric technologies. Undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows and staff participated in a range of experiments, including the felling of a birch tree with a flint axe, shooting antler barbed points and hafted microliths with a bow, making adhesives for hafting microliths, producing ornaments with replica Mesolithic tools, and using flint blades/flakes to cut bone, strip birch bark, process fish and replicate many other activities that would have been part of Mesolithic daily life in the early postglacial period.

The students who participated learned how to design, implement and record archaeological experiments, with the replica tools produced/used now forming a valuable reference collection for the Department of Archaeology’s microwear and residue research team. For further information and details of YEAR, please contact Dr Aimée Little (aimee.little@york.ac.uk).