Volunteers field walking at Goldsborough

Archaeologists are investigating a possible Mesolithic campsite in the North York Moors National Park.

Fieldwork has been carried out at a number of sites across north east Yorkshire and attention is now focussed on a site at Goldsborough, near Whitby.

Field walking in the autumn found more than 450 flint fragments. Some of these are tools about 7,000 years old. Many are burnt, indicating the presence of camp fires or hearths.

It is very rare to find evidence of Mesolithic people and this discovery is the culmination of a major project that has been searching for traces of them in north east Yorkshire.

Field walking and geophysical survey have been used to identify the site at Goldsborough and it is proposed to carry out limited excavations in the spring to look for more evidence of hearths and buildings.

Archaeologist Rachel Grahame from Tees Archaeology said, “Mesolithic people have always been thought of as nomadic and in many places the only sign of their presence is tiny fragments of flint. But discoveries such as the Mesolithic houses at Howick in Northumberland, Star Carr in North Yorkshire, and on the banks of the River Forth in Scotland, show that in some places at least they did settle down. It’s very exciting to think that we may find similar archaeological remains here.”

Over 7,000 years ago the people who lived in the area survived by moving around, hunting and herding animals, catching fish, and living off fruits and anything else they could find. They probably revisited some locations time and time again. The evidence of the activities of these Mesolithic people is difficult to find and usually comprises the remains of the flint and wooden tools they used to hunt their prey and work skins.

The project is being carried out by Tees Archaeology and the North York Moors National Park Authority with the help of local volunteers and funding from English Heritage.

Regular updates about the project can be found on the Tees Archaeology website at www.teesarchaeology.com

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