The Resettlement of the British Landscape: Towards a chronology of Early Mesolithic lithic assemblage types

Chantal ConnellerORCID logo1*, Alex Bayliss2, Nicky Milner3 and Barry Taylor4

1. School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester M13 9PL, UK.
2. Historic England, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2ST
3. Department of Archaeology, The King's Manor, University of York, YO1 7EP, UK
4. Department of History and Archaeology, University of Chester, Chester, CH1 4BJ, UK
*Corresponding author: chantal.conneller@manchester.ac.uk

Cite this as: Conneller, C., Bayliss, A., Milner, N. and Taylor, B. (2016) The Resettlement of the British Landscape: Towards a chronology of Early Mesolithic lithic assemblage types, Internet Archaeology 42. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.42.12

Summary

Refitted flints from Star Carr

During the Upper Palaeolithic Britain was visited intermittently, perhaps only on a seasonal basis, by groups often operating at the margins of their range. The Early Mesolithic, by contrast, witnessed the start of the permanent occupation of the British landscape, with certain key sites showing evidence for long-lasting occupation from the very start of the period. However, currently our understanding of the timing and tempo of the Mesolithic colonisation and infilling of the landscape is limited because of the paucity of precise radiocarbon measurements. In this article we assess and model existing radiocarbon measurements to refine current typochronological models for the first two millennia of the Holocene. This is a necessary first step towards understanding the Mesolithic resettlement of the British Isles. Our results throw new light on the relationship between the last Upper Palaeolithic 'Long Blade' industries and early Mesolithic assemblages, as well as refining our understanding of the chronology of early Mesolithic assemblage types. Our data also suggest regional patterning to the timing of Mesolithic settlement and throw new light on issues of population movement and adoption of new technologies.

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