• 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.
    • 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.
    • Virtually dead: digital public mortuary archaeology

      Williams, Howard; Atkin, Alison; University of Chester; University of Sheffield (Internet Archaeology, 2015-11-18)
      Over recent decades, the ethics, politics and public engagements of mortuary archaeology have received sustained scrutiny, including how we handle, write about and display the archaeological dead. Yet the burgeoning use of digital media to engage different audiences in the archaeology of death and burial have so far escaped attention. This article explores categories and strategies by which digital media create virtual communities engaging with mortuary archaeology. Considering digital public mortuary archaeology (DPMA) as a distinctive theme linking archaeology, mortality and material culture, we discuss blogs, vlogs and Twitter as case studies to illustrate the variety of strategies by which digital media can promote, educate and engage public audiences with archaeological projects and research relating to death and the dead in the human past. The article then explores a selection of key critical concerns regarding how the digital dead are currently portrayed, identifying the need for further investigation and critical reflection on DPMA’s aims, objectives and aspired outcomes.