| 7 August 2007
Ancient site found off the Isle of Wight coast
Excavations of an underwater Stone Age archaeological settlement dating back 8000 years have taken place at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Maritime archaeologists from the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA) have been working at the site just off the Isle of Wight coast. Divers working at depths of 11 metres have raised sections of the seabed, which have been brought to the NOCS laboratories for excavation.
Garry Momber, Director of HWTMA said: "This site reveals a time before the English Channel existed when Europe and Britain were linked. Earlier excavations have produced flint tools, pristine 8,000-year-old organic material such as acorns, charcoal and worked pieces of wood showing evidence of extensive human activity. This is the only site of its kind in Britain and is extremely important to our understanding of our Stone Age ancestors from the lesser-known Mesolithic period." Mr Momber added: "At first we had no idea of the size of this site, but now we are finding evidence of hearths and ovens so it appears to be an extensive settlement."
The team of archaeologists will take the sections to the NOCS laboratories where they will painstakingly excavate through the layers of sediment revealing materials that have lain unseen beneath the seabed for over 8000 years. Garry Momber has recruited University of Southampton students to help with the work.
Source: AlphaGalileo (31 July 2007)
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