Mesolithic Occupation at Bouldnor Cliff
and the Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes of the Solent
Edited by Garry Momber, David Tomalin, Rob Scaife, Julie Satchell and Jan Gillespie
At the start of the Mesolithic period, some 8000 years ago, sea levels in the North Sea and the English Channel were some 30 to 40m lower than those of today – Britain was a peninsula of northern Europe.
Over the past few decades work by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology has slowly been unearthing a buried archaeological landscape in the Western Solent. Each year, as a result of erosion and rescue excavation, the site at Bouldnor Cliff, 11m below water off the north coast of the Isle of Wight, produces new finds including worked wood, hearths, flint tools, food remains, twisted plant fibres and an enigmatic assemblage of timbers dating to c8100 BP. The material demonstrates technological abilities some 2000 years ahead of those seen on sites in mainland Britain.
This report records the events that led to the discovery of this internationally important site, the methods used to recover the material, and the detailed assessment of the archaeological artefacts. It also explores the processes that have preserved and exposed the landscape and the potential of the wider submerged palaeo-environmental resource to aid our understanding of this period.
It is clear from this and other recent projects that it is in our coastal waters that we should be looking for information on the story of human dispersal and adaptation to sea-level change in north-west Europe at the end of the last Ice Age.
- Landmark excavation of a submerged Mesolithic site
- Description of earliest worked wood found in UK
- Details of excavation and recovery techniques designed specifically for this site
- Listing and discussion of radiocarbon dates
- Detailed analysis of artefacts and environmental remains
About the Authors
The Bouldnor Cliff project has been carried out by a multi-disciplinary team led by Garry Momber of the Hants and Wight Trust for Marine Archaeology. The team has been drawn from local archaeologists, universities around the UK and independent specialists; many have dived on the site itself.
This book will be particularly suitable for specialists and students working on the Mesolithic period, but also those interested in the general prehistory of southern Britain and the North Sea littoral.
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