• 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.