• The application of micro-Raman for the analysis of ochre artefacts from Mesolithic palaeo-lake Flixton

      Needham, Andy; Croft, Shannon; Kröger, Roland; Robson, Harry K.; Rowley, Charlotte C. A.; Taylor, Barry; Gray Jones, Amy; Conneller, Chantal; University of York; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Elsevier, 2017-12-20)
      Ochre is an important mineral pigment used by prehistoric hunter-gatherers across the globe, and its use in the Mesolithic is no exception. Using optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy with micrometre spatial resolution (micro-Raman), we present evidence that confirms unambiguously the use of ochre by hunter-gatherers at Mesolithic sites surrounding Palaeo-Lake Flixton, Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, UK. Our results suggest that people collected ochre and processed it in different ways, likely for diverse purposes. The quality and specificity of chemical characterisation possible with micro-Raman facilitates new avenues for further research on ochreous materials in Britain, including provenancing through chemical ‘fingerprinting’.
    • Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations at Star Carr

      Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of York (Quarternary Research Association, 2017-09-30)
      This chapter outlines the results of recent archaeological and palaeo-environmental research at Star Carr
    • Assembling Animals

      Knight, Becky; Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Elliott, Ben; Conneller, Chantal; O'Connor, Terry; University of York, University of York, University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester, University of York, (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Spatial analysis of the Star Carr faunal assemblage
    • Conclusions

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Conclusions arising from the Star Carr project
    • Dating the Archaeology and Environment of the Star Carr Embayment

      Bayliss, Alex; Taylor, Barry; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Dunbar, Elaine; Kromer, Bernd; Bamforth, Michael; Conneller, Chantal; Elliott, Ben; Knight, Becky; Milner, Nicky; et al. (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Radiocarbon dating the Star Carr archaeological and palaeoenvironmental record
    • Degradation of the wetland sediment archive at Star Carr: an assessment of current palynological preservation

      Albert, Bruce; Innes, Jim; Blackford, Jeff; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Czech Life Sciences University; Durham University; University of Hull; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of York (Elsevier, 2016-03-28)
      This paper presents the results of an investigation into the preservation status of pollen and other microfossils in the organic sediments at the wetland Mesolithic site of Star Carr. This study assesses the degradation of the pollen record in a profile at the edge of the archaeological site, adjacent to previous pollen work carried out from 1989 to 1991 and using it as a benchmark for comparison. There has been a severe degradation of pollen grains since the earlier work, with the upper peat devoid of pollen and the lower part of the organic profile badly affected. Only the very basal sediments retain well preserved pollen. Comparisons with hydrological and geo-chemical data obtained by other workers during the assessment of the Star Carr site suggest that oxidation caused by drainage and dessication of the organic sediments, perhaps originating in fissures in the drying peat, is a primary cause of the observed severe deterioration of the pollen record. Non-pollen palynomorphs (primarily fungal and algal spores) appear to be better preserved than pollen in the present bio-stratigraphic record, showing little surface degeneration, but are not recorded in the earlier work. The pollen archive in organic sediments at the Star Carr site is now badly damaged. Any further pollen work there should be undertaken urgently but is probably not justifiable.
    • Dryland Structures

      Taylor, Barry; Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      The dryland structures
    • Excavations at Flixton Island

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; University of York; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Quarternary Research Association, 2017-09-30)
      This chapter outlines the results of fieldwork at Flixton Island
    • Fieldwork

      Taylor, Barry; Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Schadla-Hall, Tim; University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester, University College London (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Chapter 2, a summary of the fieldwork carried out 2006-2015
    • A History of the Site

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Schadla-Hall, Tim; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, University College London (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Chapter 2, a history of fieldwork at Star Carr
    • Human Lifeways

      Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Elliott, Ben; Little, Aimee; Knight, Becky; Bamforth, Michael; University of Chester, University of Manchester, University of York, University of York, University of York, University of York, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Forms of human practice at Star Carr
    • Interpretative narrative of the history of occupation

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Bayliss, Alex; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, Historic England (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-16)
      A chronological narrative of the early Mesolithic occupation at Star Carr
    • Introduction

      Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      Introduction to Star Carr Vol 1
    • Methods, Aims and Objectives

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Allen, Steve; Bamforth, Michael; Conneller, Chantal; Croft, Shannon; French, Charlie; Hadley, Patrick; Knight, Becky; Little, Aimee; et al. (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      The aims, objects and methods of the Star Carr project
    • The Resettlement of the British Landscape: Towards a chronology of Early Mesolithic lithic assemblage types

      Conneller, Chantal; Bayliss, Alex; Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; University of Manchester; Historic England; University of York; University of Chester (Internet Archaeology, 2016-12-13)
      During the Upper Palaeolithic Britain was visited intermittently, perhaps only on a seasonal basis, by groups often operating at the margins of their range. The Early Mesolithic, by contrast, witnessed the start of the permanent occupation of the British landscape, with certain key sites showing evidence for long-lasting occupation from the very start of the period. However, currently our understanding of the timing and tempo of the Mesolithic colonisation and infilling of the landscape is limited because of the paucity of precise radiocarbon measurements. In this article we assess and model existing radiocarbon measurements to refine current typochronological models for the first two millennia of the Holocene. This is a necessary first step towards understanding the Mesolithic resettlement of the British Isles. Our results throw new light on the relationship between the last Upper Palaeolithic 'Long Blade' industries and early Mesolithic assemblages, as well as refining our understanding of the chronology of early Mesolithic assemblage types. Our data also suggest regional patterning to the timing of Mesolithic settlement and throw new light on issues of population movement and adoption of new technologies.
    • The resilience of postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change

      Blockley, Simon; Candy, Ian; Matthews, Ian; Langdon, Pete; Langdon, Cath; Palmer, Adrian; Lincoln, Paul; Abrook, Ashley; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-03-26)
      Understanding the resilience of early societies to climate change is an essential part of exploring the environmental sensitivity of human populations. There is significant interest in the role of abrupt climate events as a driver of early Holocene human activity, but there are very few well-dated records directly compared with local climate archives. Here, we present evidence from the internationally important Mesolithic site of Star Carr showing occupation during the early Holocene, which is directly compared with a high-resolution palaeoclimate record from neighbouring lake beds. We show that, once established, there was intensive human activity at the site for several hundred years when the community was subject to multiple, severe, abrupt climate events that impacted air temperatures, the landscape and the ecosystem of the region. However, these results show that occupation and activity at the site persisted regardless of the environmental stresses experienced by this society. The Star Carr population displayed a high level of resilience to climate change, suggesting that postglacial populations were not necessarily held hostage to the flickering switch of climate change. Instead, we show that local, intrinsic changes in the wetland environment were more significant in determining human activity than the large-scale abrupt early Holocene climate events.
    • Resolving the issue of artefact deposition at Star Carr

      Taylor, Barry; Elliott, Ben; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Bayliss, Alex; Knight, Becky; Bamforth, Michael; University of Chester; University of York; University of Manchester; University of York; Historic England; University of York; University of York (Prehistoric Society, 2017-10-24)
      Since its publication in 1954 Star Carr has held an iconic status in British Mesolithic archaeology. The original excavations at the site recorded a large assemblage of bone and antler tools from a sequence of peat deposits at the edge of the Lake Flixton. Over 60 years later this remains the largest assemblage of bone and antler artefacts of its date in Britain and has been an invaluable source of information for life in the early Mesolithic. However, the interpretation of this material has been the subject of intense debate, and the assemblage has been variously described as the remains of an in situ settlement, a refuse dump, and the result of culturally prescribed acts of deposition. Fundamentally, these very different ideas of the nature of the site depend on differing interpretations of the environmental context into which the majority of the organic artefacts were deposited. This paper presents the results of recent work at Star Carr that helps to resolve the debate surrounding both the context of the assemblage and the motivations that lay behind its deposition.
    • Scales of analysis: evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr.

      Robson, Harry K.; Little, Aimee; Jones, Andrew K. G.; Blockley, Simon; Candy, Ian; Matthews, Ian; Palmer, Adrian; Schreve, Danielle; Tong, Emma; Pomstra, Diederik; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-02-17)
      This contribution directly relates to the paper published by Wheeler in 1978 entitled ‘Why were there no fish remains at Star Carr?’. Star Carr is arguably the richest, most studied and re-interpreted Mesolithic site in Europe but the lack of fish remains has continued to vex scholars. Judging from other materials, the preservation conditions at the site in the late 1940s/early 1950s should have been good enough to permit the survival of fish remains, and particularly dentaries of the northern pike (Esox lucius L., 1758) as found on other European sites of this age. The lack of evidence has therefore been attributed to a paucity of fish in the lake. However, new research has provided multiple lines of evidence, which not only demonstrate the presence of fish, but also provide evidence for the species present, data on how and where fish were being processed on site, and interpretations for the fishing methods that might have been used. This study demonstrates that an integrated approach using a range of methods at landscape, site and microscopic scales of analysis can elucidate such questions. In addition, it demonstrates that in future studies, even in cases where physical remains are lacking, forensic techniques hold significant potential.
    • Sediments and stratigraphy

      Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Boreham, Steve; Rowley, Charlotte C. A.; French, Charlie; Williams, Helen; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, Independent, University of York, University of Cambridge, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      The sedimentary and stratigraphic record
    • Star Carr, Volume 1: a persistent place in a changing world

      Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
      This first volume of the Star Carr work provides an interpretation of the Star Carr site, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe. Discovered in the late 1940s, the site is famous in the archaeological world for the wealth of rare organic remains uncovered. The 2003-2015 excavations directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor aimed to answer questions about how the site was used. Much larger and more complex than ever imagined, the Star Carr site was in use for around 800 years. The excavations show that Mesolithic groups were highly invested in this place and continued to occupy the site despite changes in climate over this period. The findings include the oldest evidence for ‘houses’ in Britain, three large wooden platforms along the edge of the lake, antler headdresses and a unique, engraved shale pendant which represents the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain. The artefactual material provides new insights into Mesolithic life. Significant wooden artefacts were found which greatly enhances our understanding of how important wood (a material rarely recovered) was for Mesolithic people. In the analysis of other findings it is possible to see evidence for activity areas, such as crafts and tool repair associated with structures, an axe factory, as well as a number of caches. New finds of antler frontlets have increased our understanding of the diversity of human interactions with animals. Overall, despite the degradation, these excavations have provided a new understanding of life in the Early Mesolithic that challenges many of the preconceived views of this period in terms of the character and scale of activity and the degree of investment in a particular place in the landscape.