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22 December 2011
British heritage Minister gives protection to Mesolithic site

Heritage Minister John Penrose has protected one of the UK's most outstanding historical sites whose importance has been established through work by the University of York's Department of Archaeology. On the advice of English Heritage, the early Mesolithic site at Star Carr, North Yorkshire is being made a scheduled monument for its rarity and archaeological importance.
     The designation provides legal protection for the site where last year a team of archaeologists, from York and the University of Manchester, discovered Britain's earliest surviving house. The house dates to at least 9,000 BCE - when Britain was part of continental Europe. The research team unearthed the 3.5 metres circular structure next to an ancient lake at the site, near Scarborough. They also excavated a well preserved 11,000 year-old tree trunk with its bark still intact and the earliest evidence of carpentry in Europe.
     Nick Bridgland, Designation Team Leader for the North at English Heritage, said: "The remains at Star Carr, including what may be the earliest building known in Britain, are unequalled in British archaeology and designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument recognises this importance. Scheduling Star Carr will help archaeologists manage the site effectively and carry out critically important excavations to recover the rapidly decaying remains so we can all learn as much as possible about this fascinating period of prehistory."
     Dr Nicky Milner from the University of York and Dr Chantal Conneller and Barry Taylor from the University of Manchester have worked at Star Carr since 2004.  Dr Conneller said: "The scheduling of Star Carr confirms its position as Britain's most important Mesolithic site. We are delighted that the finds from our excavations - in particular the house and the wooden platform - have increased our understanding of such an iconic site."

Edited from ArtDaily (22 December 2011)

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