Category Archives: Mesolithic

Prehistory in primary schools -Teaching resources road-test

Rainbow

The peaty fields around Star Carr, once the shore of a Stone Age lake, where a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer settlement has given remarkable insights into how prehistoric people interacted with their environment 11,000 years ago. 

 

Prehistory is on the Primary Curriculum these days, which is great news. What’s not so great is that many schools and more importantly teachers are not as well-informed about the Stone Age as they would wish and need help designing engaging programmes of study for their pupils about prehistory. Thankfully the team involved with the Star Carr Archaeology Project at York University have been putting their minds to this and designing some excellent teaching resources for schools to understand the stone age and make the Mesolithic site of Star Carr, near Scarborough relevant to children in the modern age. Please share with teachers this opportunity to get in early and preview the materials they have produced and give some constructive feedback on the resources. The following four paragraphs are reproduced from the facebook page of the Star Carr Project  (which by the way is excellent).

TEACHING ABOUT THE MIDDLE STONE AGE
The Star Carr team has been busy producing resources for teachers about the site and the Mesolithic. The classroom activities have been grouped into three sets of units. Individual units can be taken from any set and taught as stand-alone activities. We are looking for teachers who would like to test these resources in the classroom and let us know what they think of them. Please contact Don Henson at dh625@york.ac.uk.

Set 1 – a skills log to develop basic archaeological skills in the
classroom: finding out information, identifying things, recording
objects, analysing how people lived and telling others about Star Carr.

Set 2 – a set of short stories, “11,000 Years Ago”, about the daily
lives of a Mesolithic family: moving home, making things, food, friends and strangers, a hint of winter, coming of age, a new life, the bad old days, boy or girl – animals or plants?

Set 3 – Lessons from the Middle Stone Age, showing how the Mesolithic can teach useful lessons to help us both live better lives today and understand the world we live in: the origins of ourselves, change is inevitable, the living environment, human diversity, healthy eating, what makes us happy.

 

That little lot sounds to me like a whole term’s worth of material for engaging and inspiring a generation of young scientists to think about our place in the world and what sites like Star Carr can teach us. If you think you know a teacher who would be willing to road test some of  these units in school do encourage them to email Don Henson at the University of York  (dh625@york.ac.uk) who would be pleased to hear from them.

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The last ever digs at Star Carr?

Star Carr excavations in, June 2014

Last year’s Star Carr excavations, in June 2014.

Summer 2015 saw a final  excavations season at the Mesolithic site of Star Carr near Seamer, Scarborough as the University of York’s five year long Postglacial research project, funded by the European Research Council, draws to a close. Being located on private farmland with no public access, it can be easy to understand why so many people living nearby are still in the dark about this Stone Age site. Many thousands of people must have unwittingly passed by on the A64 trunk road into Scarborough, just a kilometer or so from Star Carr.

Mind you, even if one did get close to the site there is not much to see to the untrained eye but a typical Yorkshire field…..that is unless you were there when archaeological investigators were at work. Even then,the digs were only transient windows into the past – the excavations being filled in after each season to protect the material from the elements. It’s now a Yorkshire field again.

Luckily for us the Star Carr team and various students made some short films in their final few digging seasons about the excavations,  the artefacts found there and their significance, about the story of the site’s discovery over 60 years ago and about the experiences of some of the students, researchers and volunteers who have worked on the digs.
Some videos you might want to check out are below. These are the ones that area easily located on YouTube but if you find any good ones not listed do contact us and we’ll add them.

Skulls, Shamans and Sacrifice in Stone Age Britain Published on 13 Jul 2015

The Mesolithic settlement of Star Carr in North Yorkshire has fascinated archaeologists for decades. Nicky Milner and her digging team from York University are embarking on their final ever excavation on site to unlock the secrets of this mysterious landscape. They’ve been filming every moment of discovery to give us a glimpse into our ancient past.

A Mystery of Star Carr Published on 23 May 2013

A film made in support of the Yorkshire Museum’s exhibition “After the Ice”, which opens on 24th May 2013. The film is about the pre-historic antler frontlets excavated in 1951 at Star Carr, Yorkshire. Made by Adam Clark, Olivia Morrill, and Susan De Val. To keep updated with our progress, check out our blog!

A 3-minute film on the history of the archaeological site of Star Carr. This film was created by Emma Carr, Jenna Tinning, and Kelly Guerrieri for the Yorkshire Museum’s exhibition ‘After the Ice’. Check out the blogs where we update you on all our progress at: http://yorkstudentheritage.blogspot.co.uk

The People of Star Carr Published on 23 May 2014  

A 3 minute film produced by Katrina Gargett and Lexi Baker, two BA Heritage Studies students at the University of York. It has been made for display at The Yorkshire Museum and features the archaeologists who previously worked at the Mesolithic site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire.

When Star Carr made international headlines in 2010 for the discovery of evidence of Briatain’s oldest ‘house’ the news was shared all over the world… Archaeologists Uncover Britains Oldest House Uploaded on 13 Aug 2010  Archaeologists say they have discovered Britain’s oldest house at a Stone Age site in northern England. Researchers say the house dates back 10,500 years.

In Focus: Star Carr   Uploaded on 18 Aug 2011 (Archaeosoup Productions)

Welcome to In Focus. In this series we take a closer look at particular sites, finds and objects from the world of Archaeology.

The www.starcarr.com website also has some videos of excavations in recent years which you can look at here. One in particular, The Other Side of the Antler filmed in 2006 at the beginning of the modern phase of investigations by the Vale of Pickering Research Trust gives a detailed look at the digs that year. Did you know how important Star Carr is to archaeologists? It has been said that Star Carr is as important for the Mesolithic period as Stonehenge is to the Neolithic.  Scarborough Borough Council owns a field close by to the scheduled Star Carr site which has some similar topographic features and has also been the site of digs and test pits over the years. It is still hoped that a way can be found to promote public access to the vicinity of Star Carr.

 

Stone Age Sounds at Flixton

Mesolithic Open Days at Flixton Island, Vale of Pickering
See the latest excavations and finds, experience sounds of the Mesolithic, quiz the experts, walk the landscape, volunteer to dig!

Meet the Star Carr Project Team and Tim Burkinshaw of the Carrs Wetland Project

The Star Carr Mesolithic Project Team are holding an open weekend at their excavations at Flixton Island between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August. Please come along and visit them to learn more about the Late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites that they are digging.

  • Site tours both Saturday 24-Aug and Sunday 25-Aug:
    >> 10.00, 12.30, 15.30 | tours last about 30 minutes
  • Opportunity to see some of the recent finds
  • Experience the “Mesolithic soundscape” where you can sit in the middle of a circle of speakers and immerse yourself in reconstructed Mesolithic sounds – wild animals, flint knapping, boating across the lake
  • Visit the book stall | Star Carr booklet £2 or the book £13 | profits go towards further public events
  • On the Saturday only, guided walks around the wetland landscape with Tim Burkinshaw of The Carrs Wetland Project – join Tim to look for clues of shrinking peat soils and learn how local farmers are helping to protect the heritage of this floodplain landscape and its wildlife:
    >> 11.00 and 14.00 | walks last about an hour

Directions

The site is located down North Street in Flixton near Scarborough North Yorkshire, YO11 3UA, Grid ref: TA 039 812. You can either park in Flixton and walk down North Street or drive down North Street. North Street is a single track lane with limited passing or turning space. It is possible to drive down to the site and park off-road in the field adjacent to the dig by kind permission of the farmer.

If you choose to drive down the lane please proceed very slowly with great care for pedestrians, dogs, horses, etc.

The pub in Flixton village, The Fox Hound Inn cannot provide parking unless you intend to have lunch there and as it is bank holiday it may be worth booking in | Tel 01723 890301

How to volunteer

Anyone who would still like a chance to volunteer for excavations, please email the Project Manager, Mike Bamforth who is arranging these opportunities. Further info on http://www.starcarr.com

[This post reproduced with permission of Teeside Archaeological Society eNews Archive ]