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Archaeological fieldwork preceding housing development revealed a Mesolithic site in a primary context. A central hearth was evident from a cluster of calcined flint and bone, the latter producing a modelled date for the start of occupation at 8220–7840 cal bc and ending at 7960–7530 cal bc (95% probability). The principal activity was the knapping of bladelets, the blanks for microlith production. Impact-damaged microliths indicated the re-tooling of hunting weaponry, while microwear analysis of other tools demonstrated hide working and butchery activity at the site. The lithics can be classified as a Honey Hill assemblage type on the basis of distinctive leaf-shaped microlithic points with inverse basal retouch.
Such assemblages have a known concentration in central England and are thought to be temporally intermediate between the conventional British Early and Late Mesolithic periods. The lithic assemblage is compared to other Honey Hill type and related Horsham type assemblages from south-eastern England. Both assemblage types are termed Middle Mesolithic and may be seen as part of wider developments in the late Preboreal and Boreal periods of north-west Europe. Rapid climatic warming at this time saw the northward expansion of deciduous woodland into north-west Europe. Emerging new ecosystems presented changes in resource patterns and the Middle Mesolithic lithic typo-technological developments reflect novel foraging strategies as adaptations to the new opportunities of Boreal forest conditions. While Honey Hill-type assemblages are seen as part of such wider processes their distinctive typological signature attests to autochthonous, regional developments of human groups infilling the landscape. Such cultural insularity may reflect changing social boundaries with reduction in mobility range and physical isolation caused by rising sea level and the creation of the British archipelago.
The paper describes a small late Upper Palaeolithic open-air site situated on a prominent ridge top interfluve in the English Midlands. A discrete cluster of worked flint of late Palaeolithic blade technology was discovered within an excavated area of 100 m2. The lithic scatter represents the hearth-side activities of a short-term occupancy by a small hunting group with evidence for provisioning of flint, production of blades/bladelets, and toolkit maintenance. Spatial analysis provides some dynamics to these activities. The assemblage has strong affinities with the Late Glacial–early Post-glacial Long Blade industries of southern England and northern France but displays many attributes that are atypical of the classic sites. The Launde assemblage appears to be a missing fades of the Long Blade tradition. The blade technology and the typology of the projectile points are also closely paralleled further afield in Belgium, the Netherlands and western Germany, what might be termed a late Western Ahrensburgian, probably dating to the early Pre-Boreal at the beginning of the 10th millennium BP.
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