All documents relating to the North East Yorkshire Mesolithic Project can be downloaded here.
The Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age, lasted for over 6000 years from around 10,000 BC to around 4000 BC. It began at the end of the last Ice Age (at the end of the Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age) and it continued until the first appearance of farming in the Neolithic (New Stone Age). Download our Mesolithic Leaflet to find out more.
Although the period was long we know relatively little about it. The North York Moors National Park and Tees Archaeology have teamed up to find out more and have set up a research project with funding from English Heritage.
The project began in 2006 with an assessment of published sources, museum collections and information from the Historic Environment Record.
In 2008 volunteers were briefed and set to monitoring patches of erosion on the moors and recording any flints that were visible.
Several significant flint collections were reported as a result of this monitoring and have been assessed. All the supporting documents can be found here.
Upleatham and Goldsborough 2008
Fieldwork for the Mesolithic project began in 2008 with shovel and test pitting at Upleatham and Goldsborough, both near the coast. Mesolithic flints were recovered from both sites but were mainly from the topsoil or later prehistoric features. To find out more please download the report for the 2008 field season here.
Farndale Moor 2009
This fieldwork took place on the high moor top at Farndale where previous concentrations of Mesolithic flint had been noted. Over 3000 flints were recovered associated with stone spreads and a number of cut features. The report can be downloaded here.
Wetherhouse Moor and Bransdale 2010
Further fieldwork took place on the high moors in 2010. The sites were chosen as there were documented flint collections from the area. Wetherhouse Moor was badly disturbed by moor fires and road building. The Bransdale site produced very late Mesolithic flint work and several shallow cut features. More details can be found in the report here.
During 2011, we produced an overview of the entire project which is now available to download here. This includes details of all three field seasons.
The project produced several large assemblages of flint. The initial resource assessment also highlighted the fact that the regions museums hold vast collections of prehistoric lithics, and many of these are poorly documented. To help museums and private collectors we produced the following factsheets, available to download here.
In 2012 a further and final round of English Heritage funding was confirmed to bring the project to a close. This included a geophysical survey and fieldwalking at Goldsborough followed by a further season of excavation. Evidence was found for a hearth. Despite containing Mesolithic or early Neolithic flint the hearth returned a radiocarbon date of the early Bronze Age. The report can be downloaded here.
Goldsborough 2012 Geophysical Survey
In May 2012 a geomagnetic survey was carried out at the Goldsborough site to see how effective the technique might be in identifying Mesolithic features. The work was conducted by Archaeological Services, Durham University.
The results of the survey were encouraging with several anomalies identified consistent with buried ditches and gullies of a prehistoric settlement. You can download the report for the work here.
Final Project Report
A final project report was produced following the end of the 2013 field season. Please download a copy here.