Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

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Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:06 pm

Archaeologists are claiming to have discovered the oldest house in Britain.

The circular structure, found at a site near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has been dated as being made in 8,500BC.

Described as a "sensational discovery" by archaeologists, this is 500 years earlier than the previous oldest house.

The teams from the universities of Manchester and York are also examining a nearby wooden platform, which is being claimed as the oldest example of carpentry in Europe.

Nicky Milner, an archaeologist from the University York, says such sites are "incredibly rare" - and that finding such early evidence of settled living gives a new insight into hunter gatherers.

"What's really important is how it changes our view of hunter gatherers," says Dr Milner.

"There was a view of them as being very nomadic, highly-mobile people - but now we're seeing them as much more settled and sophisticated... People were living in the same places for generations."

"This is a sensational discovery and tells us so much about the people who lived at this time," says Dr Milner.

First settlers

Evidence of what would have been a 3.5 metre diameter house has been found at the Star Carr archaeological site, which was occupied by hunter gatherers 11,000 years ago, when Britain was attached to continental Europe.

The remains were dated by radio carbon and the type of tools used - which have identified the house as being from 8,500BC, older than the previous oldest known house, in Howick, Northumberland.

The people living here would have been among the first settlers returning after the glaciers of the ice age had retreated.



It was a round house - a smaller version of iron age round houses - with a circle of timber posts around a sunken circular floor area, which could have been covered by reeds.

It is not known how the walls and roof were covered, but it could have been thatched or used animal hides.

Archaeologists believe that the house had been rebuilt over time and that there were likely to have been other houses at the site.

It suggests that people of this era were more attached to settlements than had been previously thought - staying in one place rather than drifting across the landscape.

The Star Carr site, inhabited after the last ice age, is believed to have been in use for between 200 and 500 years.

It has been the subject of extensive research and excavation since its discovery in the 1940s - and has yielded items such as the paddle of a boat, arrow tips and masks made from red deer skulls.

There are also antler head-dresses, which could have been used in rituals.

Hunters

The people living at Star Carr were hunters rather than farmers, catching animals such as deer, boar and elk, helped by domesticated dogs.

Archaeologists are also examining a wooden platform made from split timbers, near to the lakeside house, which is being claimed as the oldest example of carpentry so far discovered in Europe.

An 11,000-year-old tree trunk has also been found at the mesolithic-era site, with the bark still intact.

Chantal Conneller from the University of Manchester said: "This changes our ideas of the lives of the first settlers to move back into Britain after the end of the last ice age.

"We used to think they moved around a lot and left little evidence. Now we know they built large structures and were very attached to particular places in the landscape."

The teams were congratulated by Universities Minister David Willetts: "This exciting discovery marries world-class research with the lives of our ancestors.

"It brings out the similarities and differences between modern life and the ancient past in a fascinating way, and will change our perceptions for ever."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10929343

Star Carr has always been an important site to the archaeology of British prehistory, but this is an amazing find nonetheless. What is most striking is the complexity of the site for such an early period. It is a mesolithic site, which means it predates agriculture in the region.

There is a website dedicated to the archaeology of Star Carr. [Click Here]
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by TexasBlue on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:28 pm

Friggin' amazing!


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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by i_luv_miley on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:12 pm

That is cool. Over the past year or so I've gotten more into this kind of stuff. Not just in terms of just finding old places per se, but rather in what we learn about how the people lived, who they were, what they ate, how they communicated with each other, hunted, etc and so on... I'm still quite a "newbie" when it comes to this (obviously), but it seems like the amount of what we know about civilization in general really decreases before about 3000 B.C. So to I'm always interested in learning about "us" from before that time. bounce
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:24 pm

If you ever want book recommendations, I'd be happy to help. I didn't study much prehistory, because the medieval was my period but I could point you in the right direction.
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by i_luv_miley on Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:32 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:If you ever want book recommendations, I'd be happy to help. I didn't study much prehistory, because the medieval was my period but I could point you in the right direction.
Absolutely! cheers Unfortunately I wouldn't know what to ask for (or about)... As I said, basically I'm interested in what happened (as humans) from before say 3000 B.C. - and I only use that date as a guess. I know we've learned about civilization from before that time, but since we do know a lot about who "we" were at around 3000 B.C., I'd like to start there and then work backwards. And let's face it, I'd love to find out what "we" were doing 100,000 years ago. I guess along those same lines, two things I'm interested in are volcanoes and astronomy - and I've always been curious as to what humans were like 50,000 years ago - supposedly around the time the "meteor" hit Arizona, and about the time that Toba erputed. To me, that's fascinating.
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by TexasBlue on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:53 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:If you ever want book recommendations, I'd be happy to help. I didn't study much prehistory, because the medieval was my period but I could point you in the right direction.

You like medieval stuff, huh? Ever listen to Renaissance music?
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by TexasBlue on Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:56 pm

i_luv_miley wrote:I'd love to find out what "we" were doing 100,000 years ago.

Easy.
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:10 pm

i_luv_miley wrote:
The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:If you ever want book recommendations, I'd be happy to help. I didn't study much prehistory, because the medieval was my period but I could point you in the right direction.
Absolutely! cheers Unfortunately I wouldn't know what to ask for (or about)... As I said, basically I'm interested in what happened (as humans) from before say 3000 B.C. - and I only use that date as a guess. I know we've learned about civilization from before that time, but since we do know a lot about who "we" were at around 3000 B.C., I'd like to start there and then work backwards. And let's face it, I'd love to find out what "we" were doing 100,000 years ago. I guess along those same lines, two things I'm interested in are volcanoes and astronomy - and I've always been curious as to what humans were like 50,000 years ago - supposedly around the time the "meteor" hit Arizona, and about the time that Toba erputed. To me, that's fascinating.
Well I can recommend a TV series that might help with that to get you started. 18 months ago, the BBC made a superb documentary series called The Incredible Human Journey. 5 episodes, each focused on one geographical area. (1. Out of Africa; 2. Asia; 3. Europe; 4. Australia; 5. The Americas) With a lot of digging you should be able to find the whole series on YouTube. The book of the same title also seems to be highly recommended.

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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:12 pm

TexasBlue wrote:
The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:If you ever want book recommendations, I'd be happy to help. I didn't study much prehistory, because the medieval was my period but I could point you in the right direction.

You like medieval stuff, huh? Ever listen to Renaissance music?
Not Renaissance. I have some CDs by a modern medieval music band but as each one has been released their style has become less and less medieval.

Every year we go to a medieval Christmas festival in Shropshire where there is always music being played using medieval instruments.
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by TexasBlue on Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:18 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:Not Renaissance. I have some CDs by a modern medieval music band but as each one has been released their style has become less and less medieval.

That wouldn't be Blackmore's Night, would it?

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:Every year we go to a medieval Christmas festival in Shropshire where there is always music being played using medieval instruments.

I went to Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas back in 1993. It was a blast and the food was good (and inexpensive).

Scarborough Renaissance Festival
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:23 pm

No it was Mediaeval Baebes.

Sorry guys, barely around at the moment. We have company and I'm not able to get online much. Don't kill each other while I'm away Very Happy
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Re: Archaeologists discover Britain's 'oldest house'

Post by TexasBlue on Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:29 pm

The_Amber_Spyglass wrote:No it was Mediaeval Baebes.

Sorry guys, barely around at the moment. We have company and I'm not able to get online much. Don't kill each other while I'm away Very Happy

Check out Blackmore's Night. You might like it. I grabbed a few of his cd's off of TPB.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackmore's_Night

Don't worry. There's nobody here to kill. ROFL
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