Mesolithic Finds

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#1
Fish trap may be Mesolithic find
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 04347.html
LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

A COMPLEX series of weirs and dams to trap rare fish on Connemara’s Errislannan peninsula may date back to the Mesolithic period, according to the archaeologist who made the discovery.

Significantly, one local resident is still making and using traps for the weir and dam system, modelled on pre-Christian design, archaeologist Michael Gibbons said. John Folan said he was unaware of the historical importance of the equipment, the coastal system, or the fish species, until contacted by Mr Gibbons. The National Museum of Ireland has now commissioned him to construct one of his traps for its folklife collection.

Mr Gibbons was walking on the north side of Errislannan, outside Clifden, when he came across the stone ponds, channels and dams linking Mannin Bay to several inner lagoons. He learned that the system was designed to enclose and trap a fish called “marin” or “mearachán”, which is similar to a smelt, and may be related to shad, which frequent the river Barrow.

Marine biologist Dr Cillian Roden said the fish type was “fascinating”, but its identity was uncertain. “It could be that these smelt do live in lagoons, and it would make the lagoons very important in environmental terms,” he said.

Mr Folan said he had learned from his father and grandfather how to make traps, known as “cochill”, which are placed in the upper end of the dam and weir system. He uses fencing or chicken wire and wood for a design that resembles an ice-cream cone. Formerly the traps were made of sally rods.

“It is going back generations,” he said. “People depended on the fish and you’d get hundreds of them sometimes, but only during early spring. You could boil them, fry them, cook them any way, and we’d often bring them into Clifden.” The arrival of Arctic terns close to the lagoons below Mr Folan’s house heralded the presence of the fish around St Patrick’s Day, at a time when food resources were low after winter.

Mr Gibbons said the system, dating back to Mesolithic times, had been adapted for contemporary use over centuries. “This is a very important part of the maritime history and archaeology, and shows how rich our coastline is in historical terms,” he said.
Edit to amend title.
 
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Items found in Monmouth shed light on Mesolithic man
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11710978

Some of the flints found The flints are thought to be 6,500 to 7,500 years old
Continue reading the main story
Related stories

* Bronze Age remains at bypass site
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* Flint remains show Stone Age life

The discovery of artefacts during gas mains excavations in Monmouth has helped illustrate how the River Wye supported a Stone Age camp.

Archaeologists found flint tools and bone fragments at St James's Square and Wyebridge Street.

They indicate hunter-gatherers used the River Wye for food and transport some 6,500 to 7,500 years ago.

The late Mesolithic items show there were settlers in the area thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The artefacts were found - during gas mains work - under a former riverbank where the River Wye used to flow before it changed course.

Elizabeth Walker, curator of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology at National Museum Wales, examined the items after being alerted by Monmouth archaeologist Steve Clarke.

Ms Walker said: "It's a nice little group of later Mesolithic flints - middle Stone Age - they are probably around 6,500 or 7,500 years old.

"Among the items are two little flint barbs which would have been hafted [attached] onto a piece of wood or antler and used for fishing or hunting.

"We have also got a scraper from there which might have been used for cleaning the skins or scraping bark and twigs.

"There were also quite a few waste pieces of flint used in making the tools."

Jane Bray, of Monmouth Archaeology, said local archaeologists had been keeping a close eye on the excavation work in the town.

Mr Clarke found a fleck of charcoal in the sand of the ancient flood plain alerting them to what was beneath the old river bank.
Stone Age camp Mesolithic settlers were hunter-gatherers

Ms Bray said: "They have been removing the gas mains in the top end of the town and we've been watching all the trenches as part of that.

"We watch them digging, get in and have a look. These are by far the earliest finds we've had."

The previous earliest known settlement in the town was believed to have been about 2,500 years old.

Ms Walker said the find suggested there was some sort of camp beside the river where people were making stone tools.

"They would have been heavily dependent on fish in their diet and they would have been nomadic," she said.

"They would have been near the river in the winter months and maybe up in the hills hunting in the summer.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

The people would've come back into Britain following herds of game that had been moving in for the plant food available”

End Quote Elizabeth Walker National Museum Wales

"It's important evidence within the body of evidence about how people were living and what they were doing at this time."

She said there had been significant sites of this type found in Monmouthshire previously, but none next to the river.

The landscape during this period would have been one covered by trees and featuring animals such as deer, wolves and possibly horses.

"We had come out of the last Ice Age and the climate had really improved. All the trees and plants had moved back in," said Ms Walker.

"The people would've come back into Britain following herds of game that had been moving in for the plant food available."
 
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#3
5,000-year-old axe found on Galway beach after storms
Kate Hickey @irishcentral January 21,2014 04:29 AM

Hunting axe from late Mesolithic, pre-farming period, about 4,000-5,000 BC, described as ‘extremely rare’, found on Connemara beach, near Ardmore. Photo by: Tourism Ireland

A 5,000-year-old axe washed up in the recent storms that battered Ireland has been described as a precious find by experts.

Connemara resident Elizabeth Moylan came across the Mesolithic axe on the shoreline near her home after the storms had passed.

The Irish Times also reports on a second axe found in the same vicinity by her niece Lorna.

The report says that the late Mesolithic mudstone axe was used for hunting and has been described by Galway archaeologist Michael Gibbons as ‘extremely rare.’

Moylan discovered the axe near her home in Ardmore while a polished stone axe was found in the same area by her niece, Lorna.

Moylan told the paper that she was walking the shoreline after the storms when she discovered the object.

She then contacted Connemara based Gibbons, who confirmed that the mudstone artifact dated to the late Mesolithic, pre-farming period, about 4,000-5,000 BC.

The Irish Times report says the axe may have been attached to a handle or strap using a deer antler.
The find is believed to be the most westerly example of several hunting implements found in the Galway Bay region.

Moylan told the paper, “We think that it may have been made in one of a number of axe factories in Co Clare and these implements were traded up the coastline.”

Her niece Lorna found a polished stone axe in the same location. Polished stone axes are of later origin and associated with farming.

Gibbons commented that mudstone was not local to the area where it was found, which suggests it was acquired in a ‘hunter-gatherer trade network’ extending from north Clare to the wider western Connacht region.

The report adds that a Fanore axe-making site was washed away in the recent storms.

Gibbons said, “Several late Mesolithic finds have come to light in Connemara and the surrounding regions over the last few years, but this one pushes settlement in the Connemara Gaeltacht back further than we previously had evidence for.”



Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/histo ... z2r3y3cdC6
Follow us: @IrishCentral on Twitter | IrishCentral on Facebook
 

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Mesolithic objects found during Land's End excavation

More than 60 objects have been unearthed by archaeologists during an excavation at Land's End in Cornwall.
The excavation was prompted after wild rabbits uncovered flint scrapers and arrowheads while burrowing, managers of the attraction said.

A preliminary one-day dig in a one-metre square area uncovered Mesolithic hammers, arrow heads, scrapers and waste from a flint tool-making factory.
The Mesolithic period dates from 10,000 to 4,000BC.

Land's End said it was to work in partnership with Big Heritage UK over the next few years to carry out further investigations at the site.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-27538136

Slightly longer version here:

http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Rab ... story.html
 
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A rare sample of megalithic engraving or “rock-scribing” has been found on an ancient pilgrimage route to Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

The prehistoric ornamentation resembles that found in Lough Crew, Co Meath, and is one of just of two rock art samples of its type to be identified west of the Shannon, according to archaeologist Michael Gibbons.

The panel had been concealed behind the outcropping at the Boheh townland known as St Patrick’s chair, which has some 250 petroglyphs or carvings on its surface. The carvings are believed to have been inspired by the “rolling sun” phenomenon, where the setting sun appears to glide down the flank of Croagh Patrick during the months of April and August. ...

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irel...-scribing-found-near-croagh-patrick-1.2119328
 

EnolaGaia

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News story summary ...

In deep water off the coast of Sicily, scientists have found a large and very mysterious monolith that is believed to have been hewn from rock some 10,000 years ago. ...

The stone artifact--which is pierced by three holes--is about 12 meters long and roughly square in cross section, with each side measuring about 2 meters. It was discovered by a diver on Sept. 16, 2014 at a depth of about 40 meters on what was once an island in the Sicilian Channel ...

Exactly who made the monolith? No one knows for sure, though evidence suggests that it was fashioned by members of an ancient Mediterranean culture who lived in the area until their land was swallowed by rising sea levels some 9,ooo years ago. ...

As for the monolith's purpose, it might have been "some sort of a lighthouse or an anchoring system," according to Lodolo.
The paper written about this discovery can be accessed at:

http://www.researchgate.net/publica...n_Sea)_Evidence_for_Mesolithic_human_activity
 
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#9
A 9,000-year-old axe sheds light on burial practices
Ireland’s earliest burial site gives up the secrets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors




Archaeologists believe the highly-polished stone axe, known as an adze, was made especially for the funeral of a very important person, whose remains were cremated and then buried at the site. Photograph: Ben Elliott
Analysis of an axe that is more than 9,000 years old, found at Ireland’s earliest burial site, in Co Limerick, has shed light on the ancient burial practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Archaeologists believe the highly-polished stone axe, known as an adze, was made especially for the funeral of a very important person, whose remains were cremated and then buried at the site.

Microscopic analysis has revealed the shale tool, believed to be the earliest fully polished adze in Europe, was only used for a short time, and then deliberately blunted.

Situated on the banks of the river Shannon at Hermitage, Castleconnell, the burial site, dating back to between 7,530 and 7,320 BC, is twice as old as Newgrange.

It was discovered 15 years ago, and contained burial pits holding the remains of individuals who had been cremated.

Artefacts recovered from the earliest pit were recently analysed by a team from the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, led by Dr Aimée Little. Their paper on the subject has been published in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Dr Little said the discovery showed the general perception that people living in Ireland during the Mesolithic period were “just hunter-gatherers roaming around the island, chipping away at bits of stone” is completely incorrect. ...

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/scie...est&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news_digest
 

Mungoman

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#10
Australian waisted stone axe with 2 Euro coin for size comparison.

Look closely and you will see on one side of the blade, parallel scratches on a smooth background - on the other side, the blade is pitted from exposure to the elements.

The conclusion drawn by me is that this axe had been newly created, then left where it was placed, or where it fell, for a sufficient length of time for pitting to occur.

The axe weighs just under three kilo's [6.5 lbs] and has a specific gravity of 3. IMG_8535_edited-1.jpg IMG_8531_edited-1.jpg


Dimensions 17cm X 10cm X 3.5cm
 
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#11
Archaeogenetic findings unlock ancestral origins of Sardinians
Date:
April 6, 2017
Source:
University of Huddersfield
Summary:
Some modern Sardinians could have evolved from people who colonized the island at an even earlier period, the Mesolithic.

The island of Sardinia is remarkable for the fact that an exceptionally high proportion of the population is seemingly descended from people who have occupied it since the Neolithic and Bronze Age, between 8,000 and 2,000 years ago. For centuries after that, they had little interaction with mainland Europe.

Now, University of Huddersfield researcher Dr Maria Pala has taken part in a project that has helped to unlock the genetic secrets of her Mediterranean homeland. One of the findings is that some modern Sardinians could have evolved from people who colonised the island at an even earlier period, the Mesolithic.

Dr Pala -- whose first degree was from the University of Sassari in her native Sardinia -- is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield and a member of its Archaeogenetics Research Group. The group is led by Professor Martin Richards and includes Dr Francesca Gandini as Research Fellow. They are all co-authors of a new article, titled Mitogenome Diversity in Sardinians: A Genetic Window onto an Island's Past, appearing in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

It states that modern Sardinians are a "unique reservoir of distinct genetic signatures" and it describes how the research team, based at a number of UK, European and American universities and institutes, analysed 3,491 DNA samples from the present day population and compared them with 21 ancient samples taken from skeletal remains found in rock-cut tombs spanning from the Neolithic period to the Final Bronze Age.

Dr Pala explained that this new study focused on the mitochondrial genome -- the maternal line from mothers to daughters -- because it provided an unbroken line of descent, much less complex than the whole genome. ...

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170406102607.htm
 

rynner2

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#13
Big megalithic stones with holes drilled through could also be primitive anchors. (Several have been found elsewhere and suggestions have been made they were associated with Noah's Ark...)
 

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#14
Big megalithic stones with holes drilled through could also be primitive anchors. (Several have been found elsewhere and suggestions have been made they were associated with Noah's Ark...)
Drogue stones.
But...30 feet long?

AFAIK, one was found on the slopes of Mount Ararat in Turkey, so some Bible followers are calling that the resting place of the Ark.
 
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#16
Stone is much less dense than iron, and so weighs much less in water. If they wanted it for use as an anchor, it would have to be pretty big.
Rynner, do you think this could be some kind of anchor? A photo I took about ten years ago at Marazion. It looks like a millstone, but they should be round.

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 21.10.54jpeg.jpg

I wondered if it could be because nearby I photographed this (same row of houses, I think)

Screen Shot 2017-06-25 at 21.11.30jpeg.jpg
 

Mythopoeika

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#17
Rynner, do you think this could be some kind of anchor? A photo I took about ten years ago at Marazion. It looks like a millstone, but they should be round.

View attachment 4973
I think that is a millstone. The lower, non-revolving part.
Drogue stones are long rather than round.
 

rynner2

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Rynner, do you think this could be some kind of anchor? A photo I took about ten years ago at Marazion. It looks like a millstone, but they should be round.

View attachment 4973
Looks to me like the base for a millstone. The triangular bit bit could be for collecting whatever was being ground, but I'm no expert. But it looks too small and flat to be useful as an anchor.
 

rynner2

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#19
Bearing in mind that sea levels in Mounts Bay have been rising since historic times (there are sunken forests nearby) the odd shaped Marazion stone may have been found on a beach at low tide, a relic of some long-gone mill. That would link it with the fisherman-style anchor and aircraft propeller displayed nearby - they could all have been recovered from the sea bed or a low-tide beach.
 
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#20
Looks to me like the base for a millstone. The triangular bit bit could be for collecting whatever was being ground, but I'm no expert. But it looks too small and flat to be useful as an anchor.
Plus, you wouldn't do all that work and then chuck it in the water, you'd just bore the hole.
 
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#22
Would fit in on any street.

Face of teenage girl from 9,000 years ago reconstructed
January 26, 2018 by Bob Yirka in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

The final reconstruction. Credit: Oscar Nilsson
A team of researchers with the University of Athens and a Swedish archaeologist has reconstructed the face of a teenage girl from the Mesolithic period whose remains were found in a Greek cave. They have publicized their efforts by showcasing their work at the Acropolis Museum.

The young girl's remains were found in 1993 in Theopetra Cave in the Thessaly region of Greece. They were dated back to approximately 9,000 years ago, which, the researchers note, puts her at a time when humans there were transitioning from hunter-gatherers to farmers—the dawning of civilization. It was for that reason the team named her Dawn, which translates to Greek as Avgi. The researchers believe she was between the ages of 15 to 18 years old (based on teeth and bone samples) when she died of an as-yet an undetermined cause. They determined she suffered from anemia, scurvy and joint ailments. ...

"Face of teenage girl from 9,000 years ago reconstructed" January 26, 2018 https://phys.org/news/2018-01-teenage-girl-years-reconstructed.html
 

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#23
A very strange burial site has been excavated in Sweden - underwater!

8,000-Year-Old Heads on Stakes Found in Mysterious Underwater Grave

The discovery of a burial containing 8,000-year-old battered human skulls, including two that still have pointed wooden stakes through them, has left archaeologists baffled, according to a new study from Sweden.

It's hard to make heads or tails of the finding: During the Stone Age, the grave would have sat at the bottom of a small lake, meaning that the skulls would have been placed underwater. Moreover, of the remains of at least 11 adults placed on top of the grave, only one had a jawbone, the researchers said.

This strange burial site would have been hidden from view during the Stone Age, except for a few wooden stakes that may have poked above the water's edge, Hallgren said. Whoever made the grave began by tightly placing large stones and wooden stakes together at the lake's bottom, making a flat structure measuring about 39 feet by 46 feet (12 by 14 meters), meaning each side was about the length of a school bus.

The bones were placed on top of these stones in a particular order; archaeologists found the human remains in the center of the structure, brown bear bones on the southern part and, finally, big game animals, including wild boar, red deer, moose and roe deer, on the southeastern part of the stone packing.

"It's a very enigmatic structure," Hallgren said. "We really don't understand the reason why they did this and why they put it under water."


https://www.livescience.com/61736-ancient-heads-on-stakes.html
 

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#24
"

Oldest DNA from Africa offers clues to mysterious ancient culture

About 15,000 years ago, in the oldest known cemetery in the world, people buried their dead in sitting positions with beads and animal horns, deep in a cave in what is now Morocco. These people were also found with small, sophisticated stone arrowheads and points, and 20th century archaeologists assumed they were part of an advanced European culture that had migrated across the Mediterranean Sea to North Africa. But now, their ancient DNA—the oldest ever obtained from Africans—shows that these people had no European ancestry. Instead, they were related to both Middle Easterners and sub-Saharan Africans, suggesting that more people were migrating in and out of North Africa than previously believed.


“The findings are really exciting,” says evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania, who was not part of the work. One big surprise from the DNA, she says, is that it shows that “North Africa has been an important crossroads … for a lot longer than people thought.”

The origins of the ancient Moroccans, known as the Iberomaurusians because 20th century archaeologists thought they were connected to peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, have been a mystery ever since the Grotte des Pigeons cave was discovered near Oujda, Morocco, in 1908. Starting 22,000 or so years ago, these hunter-gatherers eschewed more primitive Middle Stone Age tools, such as larger blades used on spears, to produce microliths—small pointed bladelets that could be shot farther as projectile points or arrowheads. Similar tools show up earlier in Spain, France, and other parts of Europe, some associated with the famous Gravettian culture, known for its stone figurines of curvaceous women.


All this offers the first glimpse of the deep history of North Africans, who today have a large amount of European DNA. It suggests that there were more migrations between North Africa, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa than previously believed. “Cleary, human populations were interacting much more with groups from other, more distant areas than was previously assumed,” Krause says.

Full story here: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/03/oldest-dna-africa-offers-clues-mysterious-ancient-culture
 
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#25
No finds yet but the search continues. Perhaps they should search on shore at Cromer.

British and Belgian scientists are exploring the sea bed off Norfolk hoping to find evidence that Stone Age people lived there when it was still dry land.

In recent years, some trawler crews and researchers have found prehistoric animal bones and basic stone tools in North Sea sediment.

The team on the Belgian ship RV Belgica aims to map the Brown Bank area, a sand ridge about 30km (19 miles) long.

Mesolithic people are thought to have lived there in about 10,000-5,000BC.

"We suspect that the bank is on the edge of a large prehistoric lake, where you would expect settlements," said Prof Vince Gaffney, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford.

Despite the prehistoric finds from the North Sea bed, so far no Mesolithic settlement has been found in that vast area, which flooded after 6,000BC as the Ice Age glaciers retreated.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43711762
 
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#30
Always safer to eat deep-fried smoked cod.

Evidence that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Ireland may have harmed their health by under-cooking their fish has been uncovered by researchers examining samples from a 7,500-year-old lakeside site in Co Longford.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, including Waterford man Robert Power, analysed parasites from the ancient site at Derragh, near Lough Kinale. They found new evidence that the humans of the time were likely heavily infected with a parasite from undercooked fish that causes tapeworm.

A science known as archaeoparasitology explores human infections due to contact with animals in an archaeological context. It is increasingly used as a tool in archeological research to investigate relationships between past humans, environments, diets and disease and can be particularly useful where there are no human or animal remains to examine, but where parasite eggs are preserved. ...

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/env...cooked-fish-1.3587338?localLinksEnabled=false
 
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