Star Carr is an ageing site

June 23, 2000

One of the seats of Stone-Age civilisation in the British Isles has just become even older. Experts have been able to date the settlement of Star Carr, where the first evidence of wood-working and possible animal husbandry has been discovered, with unprecedented precision.

It emerges that the inhabitants of Star Carr, in the Vale of Pickering, Yorkshire, lived in a lakeside settlement dating back 10,970 years, just 600 years after the ice sheets retreated following the abrupt end of the last Ice Age.

Petra Dark, an archaeologist at Reading University, said: "It is even older than we thought and for the first time for any Mesolithic site, we now know the exact length of the interval between the occupation and climate warming."

In a forthcoming paper in the journal Antiquity, Dr Dark said that a new assessment of tree-ring data in Germany had added 200 years to the age of the site.

Excavations at Star Carr over the past two decades have revealed evidence that nearby reedbeds were annually burned, implying a deliberate management policy that may have been intended to entice animals to the lakeside where they could be easily hunted.

Evidence of a plank-built jetty was found, representing perhaps the first use of such sophisticated woodwork in the British Isles.

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