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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Key artefacts go on display

Artefacts from Star Carr, one of the world’s most important Mesolithic sites, have gone on display at the Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum.

Collections manager Jennifer Dunne with the Star Carr display.
Photo by Tony Bartholomew.
The items, from the waterlogged area at the Scarborough end of the Vale of Pickering known as The Carrs, include a red deer skull which may have been used as a ceremonial headdress or hunting disguise, birch bark rolls, which may have been used to extract resin as an adhesive for flint tools, and animal remains such as those of the red deer, beaver, pine marten and aurochs – an extinct ox.

Local amateur archaeologist John Moore and professor Grahame Clark of Cambridge University, excavated the objects between 1949 and 1951, They date from the early Mesolithic period around 8,500-9,000 BC. Moore discovered the site after spotting exposed flints in the soil.

Museum visitors can also see new artwork recreating scenes from the era by York-based archaeological artist Dominic Andrews and hear a soundscape created by University of York archaeologist Dr Ben Elliot and Dr John Hughes, research fellow at the University of Leeds. The soundscape includes scenes of how Mesolithic life around Lake Flixton may have sounded, from working flint tools to animal calls and shamanistic rituals.

Collections manager Jennifer Dunne said: “Star Carr is widely recognised as one of the world’s most important Mesolithic sites, and we’re very lucky at Scarborough Museums Trust to hold some key items from the early excavations.

“The items are in such good condition due to the pet deposits in which they were found preventing oxygen and bacteria from reaching the organic remains. It’s what makes Star Carr hugely important: no other Mesolithic site in the world has revealed as much about what life might have been like 11,000 years ago.”

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