Undersea Stone Age high street

Sub-sea Mesolithic settlement laid out in 21st century fashion

Author: Pat
17th February 2012
 

A Stone Age village discovered underwater bears a striking resemblance to the modern high street.

Ok, it may not have a Poundland and a Lidl, but the Bouldnor Cliff site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight appears to be laid out in a recognisably 21st century fashion.

evidence of boatbuilding, tool manufacture and woodworking

Archaeologists from The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA) have been surveying the area over the course of several seasons. Divers identified the site when watching a lobster empty its burrow of Stone Age tools, no less.

The settlement dates from the Stone Age, better known as the Mesolithic period, or about 6,500 BC. Rising sea levels at the time would have flooded the site causing its abandonment, and in the process creating the English Channel.

There’s evidence of boatbuilding, tool manufacture and woodworking at Bouldnor, although archaeological work on the site is painfully slow. Removing sediment to uncover objects makes them doomed to erosion.

Tides and currents around the Isle of Wight also make for some pretty dreadful vis of 1-3 metres at best, and the HWTMA can only drum up about three explorations a year.

So within a few years the Stone Age village at Bouldnor Cliff will be abandoned for a second time – and this time for good.

 
 
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