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What can we learn from going back to a site that was first excavated by Grahame Clark in 1949-51, and that has since become the type site for the early Mesolithic? The answer is a new understanding that overturns much of what we have been taught about the lives of early settlers in northern Europe, as Chris Catling now reports.
Icurrent archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk f youhad been alive about 11,000 years ago, living at Star Carr, you might well think yourself one of the luckiest people ever born. Dimly remembered stories handed down the generations and recounted by older members of your community tell of a period of intense cold, when the land was frozen hard and little grew. Then everything changed. The earth warmed and melted, trees grew and the above An artist’s reconstruction of life at Star Carr, where recent excavations have uncovered evidence of a thriving Mesolithic settlement.
woods and lakes brimmed with food.
That was when your people came to settle by the large lake that is your home; it was as if someone had said ‘enough wandering ... this is a good place to stay.’ And so it proved to be, as they put down roots, built homes by the water’s edge, and gradually colonised the shore, so that the smoke from camp fires now rises above the reed beds as far as the eye can see.
September 2013 |