Skip to comments.Stone Age Sites Found Under North Sea (8,000BC)
Posted on 12/09/2003 5:30:54 PM PST by blam
Stone Age sites found under North Sea
Date released 12 September 2003
Experts have discovered the first ever evidence of Stone Age settlements in the British North Sea, dating back as far as 10,000 years. Subject to further investigation, one of them could be the earliest underwater archaeological site in the UK.
The exciting find, discovered by accident by a team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, could lead to a rewriting of the history books and revolutionise our understanding of the way our ancestors lived.
The discovery of several stone artefacts, including tools and arrowheads, have pinpointed two 'submerged sites' - as archaeologists call them - off the coast of Tynemouth, near Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England, as potential Mesolithic settlements. Mesolithic people were hunter-gatherers and lived in the Middle Stone Age - the era between the end of the last Ice Age, ten thousand years ago, until the start of the agricultural revolution, five thousand years ago.
One site dates back to the late Mesolithic period (8,500 to 5,000 years ago), while the other, found further out to sea at the end of a of a long, rocky outcrop which would have once been a small cliff face, is thought to be early Mesolithic (8,500 to 10,000 years ago).
Both sites would once have been on dry land but have been gradually submerged as sea levels rose following the end of the last Ice Age.
An archaeological team, from the University's School of Historical Studies, discovered the sites by accident while they were training to enable them to look for suspected submerged sites elsewhere on the British coast as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Board project.
The flint artefacts they have found at the sites, which are under up to eight metres of water, range from a core, which was used to make knives and other sharp objects, to a microlith - the experts' word for an arrowhead.
This is only the second such find in the UK. An early Mesolithic site has been discovered in the Solent near Southampton, and because so little evidence of submerged sites exists, archaeologists know little about these early coastal dwellers.
Dr Penny Spikins, who is leading the international research team behind the Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes Project, said: "Archaeologists thought that the sites left by people who lived five to ten thousand years ago had simply been lost to the sea but our finds could change our understanding of the earliest occupation of the British Isles."
Explaining how the find came as a surprise, she said: "I was learning to scuba dive and was in the middle of a training session in the sea when I noticed lots of pieces of flint beneath me, on the sea bed. To the average person they would seem like ordinary stones you would find on the beach, but to a specialist they were something very exciting indeed.'
David Miles, chief archaeologist, English Heritage, said: This is a tremendously exciting discovery. We know that there is a prehistoric Atlantis beneath the North Sea where once an area equal to the size of present day Britain attached us to the continent and where prehistoric people and animals roamed.'
Blam, I knew it was you when I read the Headline.
Do you suppose that they had "Global Warming" that raised the sea level?
Did those humans produce too much Co2?
(I lived on the Eastern Shore of the Bay in Daphne)
Sure. The same global warming we have now. We're not out of the last ice age yet.
Daphne is a nice area, I'm on the west bay.
A couple more mentioned in this posting.
I'm sure the answer is on the internet...but, I'll accept that it was a creek...maybe a small river.
That's what they deserve for driving SUVs.
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