Microliths abound…

29 November 2010

The work is going well, if a bit slow, but we are continuing to get fantastic results.

Map of excavation area

The current site, Site No 99 is proving very interesting not least because here we are only finding evidence of the Mesolithic, no pitchstone and no pottery. The site is prolific in lithic and as usual it's mostly chert. Interestingly there isn't as great a variety of chert at this site, as there is in other locations. However there is a small proportion of flint.

Once again there's a lack of scrapers, which leads to the opinion that we're not finding the living zones on these sites, rather the knapping or dumping zones.

Microliths abound and in one discrete area (as yet unfinished) we have found a clutch of cores. There has been 45 microliths recovered so far and the site continues on all sides, in some grids there are up to seven microliths and masses of flakes and other debitage

Curved Microlith

Curved microlith

The microliths are interesting in one aspect; many appear to have been useless, being very curved or very chunky, these examples may be rejects by the knapper, who may have been a learner at the trade. This may explain why so many appear to have been discarded. However, many others appear to be fine in terms of shape and quality. We've seen this same phenomenon on other sites, such as Weston.

Microliths showing retouch

Microliths showing retouch

Site 99 may be considered as being conventional in Mesolithic terms, it lies just beside a small burn, and in the same area we have at least another four sites to excavate, all within 100m of each other. The Project will be great for comparing a group of discrete assemblages in a relatively small area. We should eventually get dates from the charcoal, which will all add up to an interesting and unusual piece of work.

So we shall be working away at these sites near the northern end of the hill side for a while, when they're all complete we shall return to cairns, burnt mounds and other find locations, many of which we're sure will produce some more surprises.

Up until this week the weather had been relatively kind to us, but with shorter days and the declining weather we shall be struggling through the winter and continuing our excavations in the area. If you would like to come along and lend a hand then please use our contact form the get in touch, we're in desperate need of more volunteers. As usual we will be working at the weekends but only when the weather permits, so check with us first.

Range of microliths

Range of microliths

Read our previous Daer Updates