Hengistbury Head: The Mesolithic findings


hengis hengstburyThis is a microlithic artefact from the Mesolithic of Hengistbury Head, made from local flint.

During the Upper Paleolithic Britain was a peninsula of the European mainland, with the area of the North Sea still dry land (Doggerland). Herds of reindeer and wild horses roamed the area of this extended North European Plain on seasonal migrations, followed by the Late Upper Paleolithic hunters, equipped with specialized hunting kits.

In general the Upper Paleolithic record in the South West is dominated by its cave sites, with the obvious exception of Hengistbury Head. TL-dating together with lithic distribution and re-fitting evidence has indicated that there is only a single Late Upper Paleolithic occupation at the site , while the lithic materials have provided evidence for the spatial separation of activities (such as the primary production of tool blanks in a peripheral zone away from the hearths), knapping and blade production sequences, and raw material procurement and use .(http://www.aggsbach.de/2010/07/hengistbury-head-a-zinken-from-the-final-paleolithic/).

Early Mesolithic finds from Hengistbury Head have been recovered on a number of occasions. Excavations in 1980-1984 located a dense scatter of material, comprising over 35,000 flint artifacts in total. TL dates center on 9750±950 years BP. and indicate an occupation during the Boreal or Pre-Boreal, when Hengistbury may have been as much as 20 km inland of the contemporary coastline. Although the majority of the raw materials (both flint and non-flint) are of probable local origin, there is evidence for the use of sandstone originating from much further into the South. In general the narrow range of tool types at Hengistbury (microliths, end-scrapers and microdenticulates) has been seen as suggesting a specialized activity site, probably associated with game hunting.

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