• 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’.
    • A unique engraved shale pendant from the site of Star Carr

      Milner, Nicky; Bamforth, Michael; Beale, Gareth; Carty, Julian C.; Chatzipanagis, Konstantinos; Croft, Shannon; Elliott, Ben; Fitton, Laura C.; Knight, Becky; Kröger, Roland; et al. (Internet Archaeology, 2016-02-26)
      In 2015 an engraved shale pendant was found during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, UK. Engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are extremely rare, with the exception of amber pendants from southern Scandinavia. The artwork on the pendant is the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain; the 'barbed line' motif is comparable to styles on the Continent, particularly in Denmark. When it was first uncovered the lines were barely visible but using a range of digital imaging techniques it has been possible to examine them in detail and determine the style of engraving as well as the order in which the lines might have been made. In addition, microwear and residue analyses were applied to examine whether the pendant showed signs that it had been strung or worn, and whether the lines had been made more visible through the application of pigments, as has been suggested for some Danish amber pendants. This approach of using multiple scientific and analytical techniques has not been used previously and provides a methodology for the examination of similar artefacts in the future.