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Archaeo News 

20 February 2012
Solent's Stone Age village

Excavation work continues on an 8,000-year-old Mesolithic settlement under the surface of the Solent - the straight which separates the Isle of Wight from the south coast of England. At the time of occupation, the area would have been covered with woods and freshwater lakes and rivers. The settlement flooded around the time the English Channel was created as sea levels rose, circa 6,500 BCE.
     The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology discovered a swamped prehistoric forest in the 1980s, in the area around Bouldnor Cliff, off the northwest coast of the Isle of Wight. The Stone Age village was found by chance in the late 1990s, when divers taking part in a routine survey saw a lobster throwing out dozens of pieces of worked flint from its burrow on the seabed. After 30 years of excavating, a boatyard was uncovered in the summer of 2011, which teams have been working on ever since.
     So far, archaeologists have uncovered a part of a wooden boat, flints and remains of food. The discoveries are of 'international importance' the trust says, because it sheds new light on how people lived in the Mesolithic period.
     "One area they were doing boat building, nearby they were on riverbanks and sand bars collecting reeds or doing a bit of fishing or elsewhere they would be hunting game," said director Garry Momber. "We have found a pit with burnt flints, and evidence they were working wood, using technology that was 2,000 years ahead of its time."

Edited from BBC News (16 February 2012)

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