In celebration of the CBA Festival of Archaeology, we put a hold on playing with big chunks of wood and sharp bits of metal, in favour of digging a gurt hole on the hunt for some small flakes of worked flint. We were on the look out for evidence of Mesolithic activity on the numerous sand islands that dot the Somerset Levels. These outcrops of hard geology would have been the main spots of dry land amongst the waterlogged landscape, providing a good base for prehistoric hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago, to camp on.
This formed an important part of a wider English Heritage project in partnership with Somerset County Council, Reading University, Winchester University and the Natural History Museum.
We were joined by a whole host of volunteers who helped us investigate five sites around Shapwick Heath NNR.
Some of the trenches were frustratingly bare, but a few yielded excellent examples of burnt flint, waste flakeS and struck flint tools, including a particularly gorgeous Mesolithic microlith blade.
Meanwhile, a team from Reading University led by Prof. Martin Bell, delved deep into the peat in search of the ‘wetland-dryland’ Mesolithic edge, where they found an impressive jumble of prehistoric timber, dotted with a large number of beaver-chewed wood.