Mesolithic settlement found in North Yorkshire

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Archaeologists were stunned to discover evidence of a Mesolithic settlement alongside the A1, which stretches 410 miles from London to Edinburgh.

Mesolithic settlement found in North Yorkshire
The route, which is now the A1 between London and Edinburgh, may have been in use for a 
staggering 10,000 years, newly-discovered archaeological evidence suggests. Experts 
have discovered ancient artefacts during the widening of the road through
 North Yorkshire [Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd]

The site, near Catterick in North Yorkshire, is believed to have been used by people travelling north and south as an overnight shelter, similar to today’s motorway service stations.

Items discovered at the settlement include flint tools that date back to between 6000 and 8000 BC.

Mesolithic settlement found in North Yorkshire
A number of flint tools (pictured) dating back to between 6000 and 8000 BC were
 also discovered at the site, which is believed to have been a kind of
 overnight shelter by people travelling north and south centuries
[Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd]

Archaeologist Steve Sherlock said: “This was a place that people knew of – a place they could return to on many occasions to stay overnight during their travels. There is evidence of people using the route and moving through the area over periods of time. It is also adding to our knowledge of the early Mesolithic period, a time we don’t know very much about.

“We found a small structure that resembled a type of shelter where they were making the flint tools that were also present at the site.”

This rare discovery came during the excavation of known Roman settlements in advance of plans to upgrade the junctions from 51 to 56 to motorway status.

It was designated the A1 by the Ministry of Transport in 1921. Archaeologists are excavating all the ancient monuments before they become less accessible.

Mesolithic settlement found in North Yorkshire
Finds during the excavations at Cataractonium include a complete Roman
bowl called a Mortaria which was used for grinding herbs and spices
 [Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd]

They are focusing on a Roman town located by the road near to the River Swale, called Cataractonium.

Mr Sherlock added: “It was fascinating to find one of those was a Mesolithic site, a further 8,000 years into the past beyond the Romans.

Mesolithic settlement found in North Yorkshire
Archaeologists investigate the ancient ‘service station’ 
[Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd]

“We are finding buildings on the edge of the Roman road – which runs alongside the A1 – including shop frontages and a bath house.”

Author: Paul Jeeves | Source: Express [June 13, 2014]

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