Mesolithic is moving

The Orkney Archaeology Society has kindly agreed to take over the hosting of Caroline Wickham-Jones blog archive, which she wrote between late 2015 and early 2022.

Going forward it will live here:

The transition is not quite complete, some small updates are anticipated passim, but all the stale links (alas, nothing stays still on the web) have been updated where it was possible to do so.

This post is to inform her loyal subscribers that no further updates are anticipated here at, which will simply point visitors to Mesolithic’s new home after a couple of weeks of this posting.

Big thanks to Mark Newton and OAS for enabling a smooth transition.

The Great and the Small

There is no shortage of television coverage of ‘big-name’ sites like Stonehenge. As I write I am still digesting the ‘new’ revelations of last week’s programme on Channel Five which presented a detailed breakdown of research on the big pits surrounding Durrington Walls.

women at work
Those who work to unearth the smallest of archaeological sites make no less a contribution than those whose research will grace our television screens and newspapers.
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False Boundaries

Archaeologists like to pigeonhole things. It helps us to categorize and interpret the data we find. But life does not always conform to quite such clearly defined ways. We have to be careful that our organizational need for boundaries does not

The interior furnishings of Skara Brae lend themselves to many interpretations
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New Publication: Prehistoric Communities of the River Dee.

Mesolithic Deeside are a voluntary community archaeology group who walk the ploughed fields along the middle reaches of the River Dee around Banchory in order to record the prehistoric archaeology by collecting worked stone from the surface of the field. In the three years from 2017 – 2019 their work resulted in the recovery of over 11,000 lithics representing at least 15 archaeological sites dating from around 12,000 BC to c.2,000 BC. Their work is exciting because it is shedding light on a period of Scottish archaeology about which very little is yet known: the Late Upper Palaeolithic right at the end of the last Ice Age. It also provides an unparalleled glimpse of the extent of human activity along the river.

Mesolithic Deeside.
A classic evocation of Mesolithic Deeside at work and the sort of evidence they are finding, by Ali Cameron.
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Our addiction to mobility

I’m interested by the way in which so many of our current anxieties relate to mobility. As I write there are fuel shortages at garage forecourts, supermarket shelves are beginning to look a little depleted, managers are concerned about the flow of goods for Christmas, and problems with the harvesting of foodstuffs have been

Transport, in all its many guises, is an essential feature of life today: but for how long?.
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The significance of a balanced view of the past

The world of archaeology in the United Kingdom has been rocked this year by the announced closure of various university archaeology departments; some well publicised, some sneaking through with nary a comment. I felt a blog coming on about the loss of opportunity to put the past in perspective and consider the depth it provides to British society today. You do not have to take up a career in archaeology for a degree in the subject to be worthwhile. But then I was sidetracked by some rather ill-informed words in the Spectator about immigration and ‘the country’s original inhabitants’.

Excavation in progress on the Mesolithic site at Kinloch, Rum, in the 1980s. The past has much to contribute to the present, but it should be based on sound science.
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