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Open weekend offers the chance to hear the sound of North Yorkshire’s Stone Age past

Posted on 20 August 2013

Visitors to an important North Yorkshire archaeological site will hear the sound of some of our earliest hunter-gatherer ancestors at work thanks to an innovative soundscape project at open events this weekend.

How the Star Carr site might have looked 11,000 years ago. Image by Dominic Andrews

A circle of speakers installed on the Flixton Island site near Scarborough will recreate the everyday sounds of life for communities living in the Stone Age lakeside settlement. The calls of wild animals such as deer and birds which would have lived near the settlement will also echo through the site.

The soundscape project was developed by University of York archaeology researcher Ben Elliott and PhD music student Jon Hughes to help to improve our understanding of life for settlers in the North Yorkshire Mesolithic community.

Professor Nicky Milner from the University’s Department of Archaeology is leading investigations at Flixton Island. She explained: “The soundscape is an amazing project which really helps to bring the site to life. You feel like you are really there surrounded by the sounds of people fishing or making flint tools. It’s great for children and really helps to fire their imagination about what life would have been like for the people who lived there 11,000 years ago.”

Visitors can also see the latest excavation work being carried out by University staff and students. Some the latest discoveries include flint tools, bones and evidence of some of the last wild horses in the UK. 

Landscape history tours on Saturday 24 August will focus on the importance of the wetlands left behind by the ancient Lake Flixton. The tours, led by Tim Burkinshaw, Wetland Officer with the Cayton and Flixton Carrs Wetland Project, will discuss how the wetland helps to support local wildlife.

Flixton Island is near Star Carr, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe where, in 2010, archaeologists from York and the University of Manchester uncovered Britain’s earliest surviving house dating back to 9,000 BC. Archaeologists have been working at the Flixton Island site throughout August in the latest phase of the five-year Postglacial project which aims to find out what life was like for our early Stone Age ancestors after the end of the Ice Age.

The open weekend tours take place throughout Saturday 24 August and Sunday 25 August from 10am to 4pm. The site entrance is located in North Street, Flixton YO11 3UA. 

Notes to editors:

  • There is parking available in North Street in Flixton. Additional parking may be available in a field near the site. Please note parking spaces in The Fox and Hounds pub car park are only available to pub customers
  • Experience the sights and sounds of the Lake Flixton site with this computer-generated flythrough  http://vimeo.com/66913559
  • A new book Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age is now available from the Council for British Archaeology http://new.archaeologyuk.org/books-and-publications/ 
  • Find out more about the Star Carr site http://www.starcarr.com/

Contact details

Sheila Perry
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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