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20 April 2008
Exploring mesolithic times of British moorland life

The second phase of a project to find out more about what life was like on the North York Moors (England) thousands of years ago is about to get under way. The North East Yorkshire Mesolithic project will investigate areas on the Moors, along the coast and in the Tees Valley which were previously inhabited by Mesolithic people to get a more detailed picture of how people lived during the period from 10,000 to 4,000 BCE.
     With funding from English Heritage, the project is a partnership between the North York Moors National Park Authority and Tees Archaeology. Specialists from Durham University will also be involved, analysing pollen grains to put together a picture of what the Mesolithic environment was like. Research from the project will be used to raise the awareness and understanding of visitors to the national park of this distant and little-known period in time.
     Mags Waughman, the National Park Authority’s archaeological conservation officer, said: "This is an exciting project which will give us a much clearer picture about the Mesolithic period – a time between the end of the last ice age and the appearance of early farming when the population was nomadic and lived by hunting and gathering wild foods. An initial stage of work gathering all the currently known evidence for the Mesolithic period was completed in 2006. Using this information, the second stage starting now will investigate some of the areas which we know were occupied by Mesolithic people to increase our knowledge of what their life was like."
     The national park's archaeology volunteers are also helping out and will be shown how to recognise Mesolithic flint tools and identify Mesolithic sites from the scatters of flint which are sometimes to be found eroding out of moorland footpaths. Once trained, they will be out on the moors through the summer and autumn, looking for and recording evidence for new sites.

Source: Whitby Gazette (11 April 2008)

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